Birch Student Sings of Education Program’s Praises

Former Birch Family Services student Jefferson Williams graduated from Springfield Gardens Education Center two years ago and now he is singing its praises—literally!  

As one of our eight early childhood schools, the Springfield Gardens Education Center provides educational and therapeutic interventions to young children, designed to develop their skills and abilities. Jefferson enrolled in the Springfield Gardens Education Center after his parents realized he needed more help in school.  

“He had a speech delay, among other things,” said his father Jefferson Williams Sr. “The first day, the principal explained to us that we can’t let a diagnosis define our children’s possibilities and we always carry that with us.”  

Throughout his pre-kindergarten journey at Birch, Jefferson’s parents discovered his love for music and its therapeutic qualities at school. Although he always gravitated towards music, his improvement at Springfield Gardens showed that it was making a big difference in the classroom and at home.  

“When I first met Jefferson, he was very shy, quiet, and preferred the company of adults. It was a joy to see him come out of his shell and interact with his peers,” said Jefferson’s teacher Robyn France. “He would especially come alive during the music and movement period.” 

“It’s beyond words,” added Jefferson Sr. “His behavior settled, and his speech and comprehension started enhancing.”  

As he progressed, Jefferson’s parents were able to learn more about autism and their son’s experience through Birch’s Parent and Family Training Program. By attending workshops and seminars, Jefferson Sr. and his wife also learned how they could help support their son’s learning and advocate for him and themselves.  

“It helped us realize that everyone learns differently, and ever since Birch, we have always advocated for special needs,” Jefferson Sr. said. “They have superpowers, and we just don’t know until we go through a school like Birch, and it teaches us how to bring it out of them.”  

Their advocacy doesn’t end there though, now firm believers in the power of music, Jefferson Sr. helped his son start a YouTube channel documenting his journey through music as a therapeutic and educational tool and to spread the word. Although he is a budding musician, Jefferson has never had any training or classes and learned completely by ear. His music is not his only newfound achievement, he is now reading at a proficient level and received an award for math skills last year.  

“It’s amazing to see that his love of music has grown and that he is thriving, both academically and creatively,” said Robyn.  

“He excels with music and occupational therapy, and it’s all because it started at Birch, we can never forget that,” added Jefferson Sr. 

You can view and subscribe to Jefferson’s YouTube channel here.