‘Determined’ Jasmine Speaks Up and Moves Up

But it hasn’t always been easy for this Student of the Month preschooler on the autism spectrum.

Jasmine, a preschooler at Mill Basin Early Childhood Center

Jasmine, who attends pre-school at Birch Family Service’s Mill Basin Early Childhood Center, has been talking up a storm lately. But it hasn’t always been easy for this “kind” and “determined” preschooler on the autism spectrum.

For instance, when she first came to Mill Basin in September 2017, Jasmine, had no verbal language. If she wanted something, she either had to point to the desired object or take her teachers over to it. On top of the language challenges, she had gross motor delays and couldn’t navigate stairs without assistance. But not for long. Working closely with classroom staff, Jasmine’s therapy team developed a course of attainable goals to overcome each challenge — and helped her meet them.

According to Speech Therapist Michelle Sisto, “Jasmine works very hard to tackle all of her speech and language difficulties. During each speech therapy session, she verbalizes her wants and needs, through 2-3 word phrases. She’s not afraid to voice her opinions and raises her vocal volume, when needed, to ensure that she is heard.”

During play, too, Jasmine has demonstrated significant gains in using her communication skills and initiating interactions with peers. “She exhibits imaginative and pretend play, through using a baby doll, and uses her language skills to narrate her play, talk to the baby, and describe what the baby needs and wants. Jasmine never let the challenges she faced, stand in the way of her success,” says Ms. Sisto.

Now, Jasmine is able to identify and write letters and numbers, spell her name, and is expressing herself a lot lately. In fact, she loves to sing along during Music class and show off her dance moves to her friends.

“Jasmine is caring, nurturing, and compassionate to classmates and her teachers,” says Teaching Assistant Sharyn Seldon. “She has a very big heart for such a small girl.”

As she’s a very good friend and loves to help her teachers and classmates throughout the day, it’s no surprise that Jasmine was named Student of the Month in March. It also isn’t surprising that when she’s moving up to kindergarten next year, it’ll be on her own two feet.

“Jasmine is caring, nurturing, and compassionate to classmates and her teachers,” says Teaching Assistant Sharyn Seldon. “She has a very big heart for such a small girl.”

Located in the heart of the Mill Basin section of Brooklyn, Mill Basin Early Childhood Center provides Special Education classrooms for preschool-age children. These include structured learning classrooms for children with autism and global developmental delays. The classroom environment is child-centered, developmentally based, and encourages students to explore through active learning. Incorporating an integrated-learning environment, Mill Basin classroom staff and related services providers collaborate to ensure each child’s individual needs are being met.

Birch Family Services offers an array of pre-school education programs for children ages 3 – 5 years in unique environments appropriate for their individualized needs. Located in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, our early childhood programs provide educational and therapeutic interventions to young children which are designed to develop their skills and abilities. Parents and families are supported through workshops on various topics to assist them in understanding their child’s needs, the educational program designed for their child, and the education system for those with developmental needs.


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