Meet Kayden, a Kid Who Is Full of Surprises
“Birch has empowered my child,” said Cynthia Almonor. “I see him doing things I never thought he’d be doing. And I would ask him, ‘Kayden, how did you hear about that?’ and he would say ‘school’ and probably mention one of his classmates.”
When Cynthia Almonor first received her son’s diagnosis, she didn’t know what to think.
“I was confused because I wasn’t familiar with what it means to be on the autism spectrum, or to have an IEP,” said Ms. Almonor. “Really, my biggest concern at the time was how far delayed Kayden was from his milestone age, things like his speech and his motor skills.”
But after two years of preschool at Birch Family Services’ Mill Basin Early Childhood Center in Brooklyn, Kayden has been talking a blue streak. Not that it was always an easy road. For instance, when he first came to Mill Basin in September 2017, Kayden presented with gross motor delays and had trouble focusing for any significant amount of time. And this was on top of the language challenges. But working closely, Kayden’s classroom staff and therapy team developed a course of attainable goals to overcome each challenge — and helped him meet them.
“Birch has empowered my child,” said Ms. Almonor. “I see him doing things I never thought he’d be doing. And I would ask him, ‘Kayden, how did you hear about that?’ and he would say ‘school’ and probably mention one of his classmates.”
Nevertheless, Ms. Almonor was apprehensive with the thought of Kayden graduating from Mill Basin and moving up to kindergarten. She wasn’t sure if he’d be ready to attend a general education class at a public school. But with support from Kayden’s team, Cynthia got there right along with her son. “They have definitely made me feel at ease,” she said. “They encouraged me to get him into general education even though Kayden has an IEP.”
Today, Kayden is enrolled in a general education classroom at his local public school. More importantly, he is succeeding.
“It was our great pleasure to provide Kayden with the early foundations for a successful lifetime of learning,” said Mill Basin principal Lori Vallejo. “Kayden and his parents will always be part of the Mill Basin extended family.”
With schools located in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, Birch Family Services’ education programs provide 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. We serve more than 1,000 children like Kayden each year in our preschool and school-age programs.
But the number of people who turn to Birch Family Services for support continues to grow and the need for our services is greater than ever. With your generosity, we can continue to provide the individuals and families we support with quality services, and have a lasting, positive impact on their lives.
Your contributions to Birch Family Services support children like Kayden, everyday. Thank you for your generosity!