Alex’s Story of Hope

Nov 7, 2014 | Uncategorized

Alex doesn’t just meet goals—he exceeds them.As a toddler, Alex didn’t speak and was very hyperactive. His mother became concerned and took him to a doctor. Alex was later diagnosed with autism at age 2. He went on to attend a Chicago-area private school program designed for students with special needs.However, the effects of his disorder began to take a toll on the family.
“I wasn’t able to work because I had to take care of him,” recalled his mother Elvia. “I couldn’t sleep because he needed supervision 24 hours a day.”As Alex aged, his behavior became more aggressive and the family began searching for a group of professionals who could better meet his needs—and that’s when they found Hope.
Since arriving at Hope nearly five years ago, the young man has surprised teachers with his ability to progress in the classroom.

“All the students improve when you have high expectations for them, but he just soared,” said teacher Laura Sandrolini. “Alex has demonstrated academic skills previously unseen in him.”

When Alex began attending classes at Hope, he barely spoke or made eye contact. He also had difficulties writing and interacting with peers and staff members. Now, he’s reading at a preschool level and writes numbers clearly. He also speaks to students and staff members, and participates in class activities. He even speaks some words in Spanish, his first language.

“We provided the classroom structure, order and consistency that students with autism need in order to be successful,” Ms. Sandrolini said. “Alex has learned to use his skills across many environments, determining when they need to be used and where.”

His mom added, “Hope has been a life saver for him.”

Alex is now age 21 and is set to graduate from Hope next spring. Staff members realize that his success into adulthood depends on him gaining more daily living skills, which include cooking, shaving, taking out the trash and learning how to use laundry machines.

In addition, Alex is also working on approaching others to ask for what he needs. He practices ordering food in restaurants during field trips and in the classroom he uses up-to-date technology such as iPads and eBeams.

Alex’s mom hopes he can move to a Chicago-area adult group home next year after he graduates.

“I would like for him to have a job and be as independent as possible. That’s my dream,” she said.

Alex’s success is only possible with your support of The Hope Institute for Children and Families. Will you help more students with a donation today?

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At Hope, we support children and families to achieve optimum growth, independence and joy.


The Hope Institute

15 East Hazel Dell Lane
Springfield, IL 62712