UPDATE MAY 2016: Ryan was moved to a group home. He has made significant progress since leaving the institution and the staff believes that as they continue to work with him, he will continue to improve. Due to his history of behavior difficulties, the agency team sent a certified psychologist to spend time with Ryan and assess him in his new home. This updated information was provided by the psychologist who spent the day with Ryan and interviewed his teacher and the director of the group home: Ryan lives with children with more severe special needs, most of whom are in wheelchairs or bed bound. He feels like a leader in his group and enjoys helping with the other children. He has formed an emotional bond with the teacher that comes to the home to work with him. He waits for her in the morning, brings her the shoes she wears inside the home, and works very hard to obtain her praise and approval. He enjoys working with his teacher on activities such as assembling a train track. He is learning to do simple academic tasks like puzzles, though he loses interest quickly if he thinks it is “work”. He responds well to completing tasks and trying new things when the adults use praise and positive encouragement. He feeds himself. He is not yet toilet trained, but the director believes this is simply because no one at the institution attempted to train him. They will be working with him on this skill. He responds to his name and follows simple instructions. Behaviorally, he is doing very well in his new environment. He has formed attachments and works to please those he cares about. The staff describes him as calm and emotionally positive. He does struggle with concentration and is easily distracted, but he is willing to work hard for praise. He is hesitant with strangers, but will engage with them when encouraged. Photos and videos are available through the agency.
Ryan is 12 years old. He has been in an institution. His gross motor skills are well developed. He walks, runs, climbs and prefers physical activities. He exhibits some stereotypical movements. He plays with toys and attempts to manipulate them correctly. He requires 1:1 assistance for academic tasks. He is currently being instructed in how to trace letters, though he still requires assistance with this task. He tries to fit shapes into puzzles. He can arrange blocks and builds towers with them. He likes to arrange the chairs in stacks. He eats independently, though he’s still working on hygiene in related to table skills. He does put away his own dishes once he’s done eating. He can dress himself, but he does not undress himself independently. His personal hygiene skills are not built up at this time. During art class, he requires assistance with coloring and art projects. He can glue items onto paper if the items are pre-cut for him. His emotions and attention are unstable. He is hyperactive and doesn’t always follow the rules. He exhibits difficult behaviors when he doesn’t get his way or doesn’t want to do something. He is sometimes aggressive with objects and with his peers. He enjoys dancing and prefers to participate in activities and play that involve a ball and interacting with children who are more physical.
Additional information: Ryan has been visited by an experienced adoptive family and members from an adoption team well experienced in observing children with special needs. During the visits, he exhibited aggression toward the adults and staff members from the institution. He had difficulty following basic instructions from the staff and often didn’t respond to his name. He did seem to enjoy interacting in small amounts with the adults, though he wanted those interactions on his terms. He did not respond well to restrictions or being made to do things that he did not want to do. He will need a family willing to provide a lot of structure, routine and consistency in behavior management.
Additional photos and videos of Ryan from October 2012 are available.