Some of our students started with us in the darkest moment of their lives—struggling to connect with others or to make meaning, withdrawn, despondent, even suicidal. In many cases, we have been able to support our students in graduating from high school and attending college or joining the world of work. In almost every case, we have strengthened our students’ sense of themselves as a purposeful, emotional being capable of building relationships with others and having a positive impact on the world.
When Karl, who has Asperger Syndrome, first joined TCS at age 12, he had been in a public school for a number of years. He had been bullied repeatedly and his parents were concerned that he was so depressed he might hurt himself. At TCS, Karl developed his first real friendships (including his first girlfiend), and over the next six years developed a much stronger sense of self, including developing an understanding of his own strengths and challenges. He was able to graduate with a college prep diploma, and recently began attending a local college part-time.
When Saul, who has autism, first joined TCS at age 13, he was in the midst of a very difficult period of sensory overload and emotional distress. Often completely withdrawn and sometimes self-injurious, Saul had a hard time getting his needs met at other programs. At TCS, Saul gradually became calmer, more engaged, and more able to communicate about his feelings and frustrations. By the time Saul graduated, he had developed a wide range of creative interests, including ballroom dancing, pen-and-ink drawing, and acting. His communication and thinking skills had improved dramatically, and he was clearly a happier person. As a young adult, Saul is currently working at several internships, including a local theater and a retirement home, and has performed in several musical productions (including typically developing performers). He has several ongoing, durable friendships with other young men and women, and has an active social and recreational life.