Although Timmy combats autism and is non-verbal, he is still able to effectively communicate with others. Timmy has echolalia, a verbal behavior in which he is able repeat words back to you, but he has difficulty forming sentences which can be frustrating when requesting something or expressing his feelings.
Timmy utilizes Picture Communication Symbols (PCS) to communicate his needs and wants with staff on a daily basis. PCS is a set of color and black-and-white drawings for use in augmentative and alternative communication systems.
Individuals may develop their own PCS systems based on their needs. PCS allows Timmy to effectively express himself. Routine and precision are very important to Timmy and if he notices something left out of his schedule, he will correct the staff, keeping them on their toes.
“Despite the fact that Timmy is non-verbal, it is amazing to watch him to talk to his staff and observe his technique and learning capabilities. His ability to overcome these circumstances make him a hero,” commented Little City Executive Director Shawn E. Jeffers.
Even though he is non-verbal, Timmy is very talkative and enjoys talking to others. While Timmy is at school, he communicates with an electronic communication device that is able to vocalize the sentences as Timmy forms them with pictures. He is very polite and always begins his sentences with “please” and ends them with “thank you.”
“Timmy is one reason why if I don’t come to work with a smile on my face everyday, I certainly leave with one. Watching him live every day to his fullest with an infectious smile truly inspires me to slow down and not take life for granted. He is intelligent, creative, intuitive, gentle and compassionate; I could not imagine the Maple Home without him,” said Jessica Castronovo, Clinical Therapist for the Maple Home.
Timmy is a very active individual and enjoys swimming and being outside. He also likes singing. Timmy lives in the Maple home on Little City’s Palatine campus with other male participants ages 15 to 22. For more information about other Little City Heroes, visit www.littlecity.org/hero.