Keystone helps Young Adult with Developmental Delays Start College

Corey is excited about starting college at UNF, a dream that he has been pursuing for several years with help from Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics.

Corey is excited about starting college at UNF, a dream that he has been pursuing for several years with help from Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics.

Leaving your child at college for the first time is traumatic for every parent. Will they make the right decisions without your input? Will they do well in their classes? Will they make good friends who have a positive influence on them? Will they be happy and successful?

For mother Michelle Tucker, sending her son, Corey, could have been even more stressful. Corey was born with Klinefleter Syndrome and has Pervasive Developmental Disorder on the autism spectrum. Michelle brought Corey to Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics five years ago.

Corey has progressed so well that Michelle says “I am more excited for him than I am nervous. He’s really been trying to show me he is independent and doing his own thing, so this is a great opportunity.”

During the past five years, therapists have helped Corey develop social skills and work toward independent living by using applied behavioral analysis (ABA). Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy involves examining each client’s individual goals, needs and abilities, then breaking those goals down into many individual steps and goals so that the client can achieve them.

To help Corey become accepted into the Arc Jacksonville Academy On Campus Transition Program at the University of North Florida, Keystone behavior therapist Erica Whitehouse and other therapists took Corey to UNF and assigned him various tasks. For instance, one day, Erica had him use a map to get to two or three buildings. Another day she told him go to the school store to locate two or three items. On a different day, he was charged with asking a question at the student help center. The therapists analyzed how he did things and how he made decisions along the way so that they could help him adjust his behavior when needed.

Next to his mother, Erica is probably Corey’s biggest cheerleader. “The greatest thing about Corey is that he has a heart of gold,” Erica says. “He wants to learn. He wants to succeed. Over the last three years I have spent with him, I’ve gotten to watch his progress, and it’s been beautiful. He’s achieved his best potential before us. He became his whole self.”

Both Erica and Michelle believe that Corey has a high likelihood of living independently. “I’ve been doing this for 20 years and have great expectation for all my clients’ futures, but this is one I wish I could have recorded from start to finish because Corey could be a case study for what we do here at Keystone. He worked really hard at it,” Erica says.

First Coast News anchor Katie Jeffries interviewed Michelle, Erica and Corey after Michelle had helped him move into his UNF dorm room and then followed him on the first day of the UNF Fall Semester as Erica and he walked to his first class. The heartwarming story can be found on the First Coast News website.

Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics, located in Jacksonville’s Southside, is committed to its tagline, “Success through Change.” If parents suspect an issue, the earlier they get their children screened and begin whatever therapy is needed the better, as the brain is more malleable at an earlier age. In fact, often the course of treatment is shorter and easier the earlier an issue is discovered. That being said, it’s never too late to explore therapeutic help. At Keystone, we serve children from birth to age 26 and are here and ready to help.

To learn more about how we can help your child achieve success in life, contact us to ask questions or make an appointment.

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