Sherri has a heart for children who are suffering. For fourteen years she has dedicated her life to providing foster care, and has cared for over 60 children in her home.
Sherri adopted two of her foster children: Kara, age 10, and Nolan, age 5. Both of them are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Sherri knew it would be tough to raise children with special needs, but she opened her heart anyway.
“I knew that Kara and Nolan were going to have problems before I adopted them,” said Sherri, “but that doesn’t mean you don’t take them in…how could you not want to love them?”
Kara and Nolan are not siblings by blood, and both have different ASD symptoms. Kara has trouble focusing on things, but she is also very smart and attends a mainstream school. Nolan was a very low functioning child. When he was two years old, he was unable to communicate using more than two words. He began Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) two years ago, which focuses on positive reinforcement and is widely recognized as a safe and effective treatment for autism. Now Nolan can have a conversation.
Nolan receives services through Highfields, and Kara receives services through another organization. Between appointments, school, therapy, and more, Sherri leans on her Autism Case Manager, Christina, for support.
Highfields’ Autism Case Management program focuses on person-centered planning. The Case Manager helps families navigate the services available to their children.
When Highfields started the Autism Case Management program in 2014, Christina was the first full-time staff member. She loves working with children, and has a special place in her heart for children with autism.
Christina describes herself as the “captain of the team.” She advocates for the family, and makes sure that Nolan’s assessments are done and that his needs are met. She coordinates schedules between the different systems in Nolan’s life, such as school, speech therapy, occupational therapy and ABA.
Christina has seen first-hand the hard work and dedication that parents provide to help their children.
“I’ve seen this program work and I believe in it, but it’s only through the parents that it works,” said Christina. “Sherri is constantly assessing Nolan’s and Kara’s needs and wanting the best for them. Her whole life is these children.”
Sherri often thinks about Nolan’s future. She hopes that he will attend a mainstream school, make friends, and become more independent. She believes these goals will be achieved as long as Highfields is helping her.
“We probably wouldn’t be anywhere near where we are now without Christina,” said Sherri. “She is incredible. She loves the kids that she works with; it’s more than just a job for her.”
Sherri is grateful for the help that Highfields has provided for her family.
“My experience with Highfields has been wonderful!” said Sherri. “I don’t know if Nolan would have made progress like he did without Highfields and therapy.”
Thanks to your support, parents like Sherri can depend on Highfields for help, and look forward to a bright future for their children.