Parents Michelle and Michael Steinhart, had a fantastic visit with their son Avi this month. They reached out to us to share their experience and give their thanks to Springbrook staff for keeping their son safe and for providing quality supports. Here is what they had to say.
Avi could not visit with us for about three months because our home was in a yellow zone. Since the zone was lifted the first week of February, Avi came home for the weekend on February 5. Avi’s typical at-home weekend is Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon, but this visit extended until Monday, February 8 due to a snowstorm.
In the weeks leading up to this visit, Avi was getting increasingly frustrated and displaying behaviors expressing his frustration with not seeing us. In all honesty, while we were so excited for Avi to come and visit, we were also quite anxious about what his behavior would be like during the visit and if safety would be an issue. For a long while before the pandemic, we had been working with Dominique and Enrique and the education and behavioral staff to shape Avi’s behaviors so that his visits home would be safe and enjoyable. Every other week, he was able to practice the new skills that he learned. We were concerned that, with his overall frustration coupled with his inability to practice these behavior skills, it would be a difficult visit.
This was one of THE BEST visits we have had with Avi since he started at Springbrook. He was using his words many times unprompted but sometimes prompted. He was appropriate and playful with his siblings. It was truly such an enjoyable time together that I cried when we had to separate on Monday, February 8. (The only downside was sleep. Avi would fall asleep between 10 and 11 pm and wake up between midnight and 1 am. At 4:45 one morning, I said, “Avi, you’re not supposed to be out of bed until 6.” He said, “Guess what? It’s 6 o’clock!”.
On Saturday night (February 6), when Avi’s grandparents came for a very short visit, he greeted them appropriately and then went back to his room. He heard us talking, and this made him upset. In the past, this would have frustrated Avi, and he would have been aggressive. This time, he walked into the room and said, “Excuse me, everybody, I think the talking is broken!” I prompted him to tell us what we wanted, and he said, “Please could you stop talking?” I asked him to give us a minute to finish our conversation, and he responded with, “Sure, no problem!” This would never have happened without intense behavioral training and a lot of practice. We still had difficult moments, but his progress is nothing short of exceptional.
This visit was successful because of the excellent care that Avi has been given since he started at Springbrook, the integrity of his behavioral plan, and the love and support that he gets from the Springbrook family and professionals—especially during this pandemic. We know that none of this is easy, and you are our heroes. Your dedication is admirable and touches us very deeply.
While I don’t have the words to express our gratitude properly, please know that none of your hard work goes unnoticed. Thank you for loving Avi, teaching Avi, supporting Avi, and keeping Avi happy and safe in a time when we have not been able to.