“ARRIVING AT BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS INSTANTLY BRIGHTENS MY DAYS. IT IS SUCH A REWARDING EXPERIENCE TO SEE MY LITTLE GROW OVER THE YEAR. BBBS HAS BEEN SUCH A POSITIVE INFLUENCE ON ME AND HAS HELPED ME BECOME A MORE PROACTIVE PERSON.” COUNCIL ROCK NORTH HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT AND [BLAST] BIG SISTER OLIVIA
“EVER SINCE I STARTED THE PROGRAM I’VE GOTTEN MORE PATIENCE. I ALSO HAVE STARTED TO THINK MORE CREATIVELY TO FIND DIFFERENT SOLUTIONS FOR PROBLEMS. WHEN YOU’RE WORKING WITH A LITTLE, NOT EVERYTHING IS OBVIOUS AT FIRST, BUT THINKING OF DIFFERENT ANSWERS USUALLY SOLVES THE PROBLEM!” COUNCIL ROCK NORTH HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT AND[BLAST] BIG SISTER SHAKTI
Trip, a 4th grader at Goodnoe Elementary School with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), was referred to The Bigs and Littles Autism Support Team [BLAST] Program last year to increase his socialization. He was matched to two High School Bigs who were freshman at Council Rock High School North, Shakti and Olivia. Unfortunately, Trip had some difficulty in the program initially. He had trouble staying in his seat, following directions, participating in activities, and engaging appropriately with his Bigs. He especially had difficulty with respecting his Bigs’ personal space. When the BLAST Program Coordinator reached out to his classroom teacher for suggestions, she was pessimistic about him being the right fit for the program. She felt it was too long of a day for him and that he should no longer be in the program. However, Trip said he wanted to continue in the program and his parents felt it was a good opportunity for him.
Thus, the BLAST Program Coordinator decided not to give up so easily on Trip and tried implementing a behavior contract to help provide him with clear expectations for the program. The concept of personal space was also clearly explained to him by the program intern who used the analogy of everyone having their own personal bubble. Shortly after, there was a noticeable difference in Trip’s behavior during the program. He became much more aware and respectful of his Bigs’ personal space. Trip also made some improvements with staying in his seat and being focused during the structured activities. His dad reported that he was a little more social at home, and one of his Bigs said he showed some improvement in his eye contact. While overall Trip made significant progress during the year, he still had plenty of room for improvement.
Trip said he wanted to continue in the program the next school year, and his Bigs were agreeable as well. Since the start of the program this school year, Trip has shown even more noticeable progress since last year. His Bigs report that he is more focused, engaged in the structured activities, and better at reciprocal conversation. His dad said he seems more social and initiates more interaction with peers. Additionally, Trip seems to have more friends and is doing better in school.
In addition to Trip’s behavior and skills improving this year, his relationship with his Bigs seems to be growing too. He told his Bigs that they are his best friends, and he has been opening up to them more. When the BLAST Program was canceled due to a snowstorm, Trip was upset about missing the program and sad that it couldn’t be rescheduled. In fact, Trip said he thinks the BLAST Program should be more than just once a week. His favorite activities to do with his Bigs are build with Legos, draw, and talk about his favorite video game, Five Nights at Freddy’s.
Both Bigs agree that watching Trip grow and improve this year has been a great experience. While Trip has grown, so have his Bigs. They have gained more skills and comfort working with a child with ASD, have developed more patience, and overall become more confident. We look forward to continuing to watch Trip and his relationship with his Bigs blossom.