Gregory can light up a room with a smile and a hug. It is Gregory’s perpetual positivity that has helped him grow by leaps and bounds over the past year, improving verbal skills, social skills and his independence.
As the only verbal member of the Coleman Home, Gregory has become a role model for his housemates and an example of setting and reaching goals. “I’ve been working with him for about a year now and he just seems to grow every day,” said Lisa Gray, home manager at Coleman.
“His vocabulary is growing and he is starting to memorize and understand important life skills.”
Gregory’s energetic personality also led to one of his biggest challenges — transitions. He would often go to one extreme or another when it came to transitioning from one place to another, either slowly plodding or running at full speed — the latter being especially dangerous because of his history with seizures.
But that problem became a thing of the past in 2020 thanks in no small part to the work of the Behavior Analysts at Little City. Both staff at the Coleman Home and the ChildBridge Center for Education were able to apply new techniques to help Gregory overcome his transition challenge and now he is able to handle going from one place to another in a safe and appropriate manner.
“He would get pretty stuck, so the behavior team came up with a plan for people at the home and school to use and it really worked,” said Jessica Kingji, school administrator.
“There is such an art and science behind what they do and Gregory put in a lot of work and responded to it. It was amazing.” Lisa said Gregory played an important part in keeping his housemates upbeat and on track even during the stricter shelter-in-place months of the pandemic. He adapted to being outside as much as he could, doing schoolwork from the home and engaging with his housemates and staff to keep everyone in a positive mindset.
He’s also grown more curious over the past months and has not only helped Lisa bring in and sort groceries and supplies, but ask questions about the items he is unfamiliar with.
“He knows when I leave to go to the store and he’ll be by the door waving goodbye. When I get back, he is right there to come help me. He’s got great manners,” Lisa said. “Everyone in the house really takes to him and is fond of him. If we keep working on his skill acquisition, he has the personality to be independent.”
At 19, Gregory still has a few more years before transitioning to adult services. Lisa said the main goals are to complete personal hygiene skills and hopefully get him ready to potentially work in the community. She said she could envision office work because of his personality and organizational abilities, but the goal is to keep going one step at a time and replicate the growth he achieved in 2020.