Roman’s story: “He’s a different kid now.”
Roman, now aged 13, had never been successful at school before attending Serendipity. He was repeatedly kicked out of programs despite an official diagnosis of autism, various interventions, and treatment plans. His family even moved to a new suburb because they heard the schools there were better. Unfortunately, nothing was helping Roman.
Roman and Teacher Charles developed a close relationship during Roman’s time at Serendipity – something that had never happened at any other school.
Roman at age 13, is a successful student in public middle school with A’s and B’s, on the wrestling team and has many friends in his new school.
Roman was a fast learner. He learned that the more he acted out, the more likely he was to be sent home. He grew to hate school and dreaded going. On his last day at public school, his classmates were forced to evacuate while he threw all the toys and desks in his classroom.
Meanwhile, Roman was exhibiting the same behaviors at home. “I got sick one time and he got scared,” said his mother, Mindy. “His reaction was to scream and throw a dining room table at me.” At times, the family struggled to keep themselves safe while also helping Roman regulate his emotions.
Finally, at age 8, Roman and his family found Serendipity Center. Everything changed when Roman met his first teacher, Charles. “I like Teacher Charles,” Roman told his mom. She was shocked – Roman had never liked a teacher before! Charles developed a relationship with Roman—something that had never happened at any other school.
Teacher Charles remembers, “Roman’s exploration as my classroom mathematician was a great breakthrough. . . There was a time I had to say, ‘we have been doing math all morning and it’s time for skills practice.’ That’s when I knew he was bitten by the Math Bug!”
Roman came to understand that if he acted out, he would always be welcomed back with open arms. Eventually, “he started having fewer outbursts. He seemed more willing to go to school; that fight ended. He started coming home in a good mood,” shared Mindy.
Mindy also received daily communication from Serendipity’s clinical case manager, which was critical in helping her re-enforce good behaviors at home. The daily updates gave her confidence that Roman was in a safe and supportive environment.
Last year, Roman’s care team and family determined that he was ready to transition back to his public middle school. “He’s a different kid now,” marveled Mindy. “He’s getting As and Bs in his classes. He’s on the wrestling team and has many friends at his new school. We don’t see any aggressive behaviors at all.”
Roman’s transformation had ripple effects beyond his academic achievements; it also profoundly impacted his family. “When we started seeing tremendous progress after a few months at Serendipity, we decided to add to our family,” shared Mindy. “We always wanted more children but Roman needed so much support and with his behaviors, we were afraid. So really, Serendipity changed our whole life. And I’m happy to report he’s the best big brother in the world.”
Thank you, Mindy and Roman for inspiring us with your powerful story. We are proud of Roman and all he’s accomplished!