From Crisis to College: Finding Hope at Bancroft
After two daughters, Michelle and Bob Walsh of Howell, N.J. were thrilled to discover their third child was a boy. “We were so excited and filled with hopes and dreams for Sean’s future,” said Michelle. When he was 16 months old, they began to notice differences in his development. Everything changed when, after suffering several seizures, Sean was diagnosed with autism at age two.
As an elementary student, Sean did well in his home school district and then at a private school nearby for children with special needs. Once he became a teen, however, Sean’s behavior turned more unpredictable and aggressive.
“I could no longer be home alone with Sean, and we were in and out of state crisis units as a result of his aggression. There was no appropriate place for him.”
That’s when the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities introduced the family to Bancroft’s specialized Lindens Neurobehavioral Program, one of few programs in the country employing an interdisciplinary team of applied behavior analysts and neurobehavioral experts to work with children exhibiting severe and challenging behaviors.
Within six months after entering the program at age 16, Sean’s aggressive behaviors decreased dramatically. “Sean thrived in the structured environment and was able to move to campus housing sooner than we ever imagined,” Michelle says.
Now 21, Sean is a star student in the Bancroft on Campus Transition program, an educational offering that enables Sean and his classmates to continue their Bancroft program on the Blackwood campus of Camden County College where they interact with peers their own age. He is on track to graduate in May 2016 prepared for vocational opportunities where he can use his computer and career skills.
“Bancroft restored the hopes and dreams we had for Sean. We are so proud of what he’s accomplished and are excited about his future.”
Sean’s confidence has skyrocketed as he has become more independent and ready to participate in adult life. “Sean watched his older sisters move away to college, and we know he finally feels like he’s accomplished that goal,” Michelle says.