Eva is a 7-year-old 2nd grade student diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Eva has struggled with communication all her life. When she was younger, her sentences had poor structure and were difficult to understand. She also struggles with reading social cues, particularly with peers. Eva has an incredible memory. She's able to recall facts, dates, names, etc, with flawless accuracy. She learned to read at a very young age and her memory makes her an excellent speller.
Eva's favorite class is language arts, and she enjoys swimming. She is supported by her mom, dad, and younger brother. Eva has been a Starfish student for over a year. She has made significant progress in her conversational skills and her ability to think flexibly in the group. She is very outgoing and has a bubbly personality.
Parent feedback: Eva has always been a social and outgoing kid. We have noticed that her ability to play with her brother and other kids in the community has increased. We find that we now rarely have to step in to explain the rules and expectations of a spontaneous game. We are very pleased with her progress and look forward to seeing her grow with all her friends at Starfish.
Nate is a 20-year-old student at North East Transition Services (NETS), where he works on employment and life skills. He is diagnosed with an intellectual disability and ADHD. Nate struggles to communicate his wants and needs with others and to engage in social conversations with peers. Nate is great at keeping a schedule, and keeps his family on track! He is very detail-oriented and recognizes when something is new or different. He has a very flexible brain and is quite adaptable to new and different situations.
Nate enjoys his cooking class the most, and really likes going to church with his family on Sundays. Nate is supported by his mom (Jamie), dad (Dave), his sister (Cassie) who attends college, and Sienna, the family dog. Nate has been a Starfish student for about a year. He has made a lot of progress in his ability to interact socially with peers and requests to attend weekend activities with Starfish, most notably like game nights. Parent feedback: Starfish has helped Nate be more outgoing and talk to peers, family and friends.
Joseph is 13 and is diagnosed with autism and ADHD. He is homeschooled and works on a 6th grade level in everything except math, which he does at an 8th grade level. Joseph is a very logical thinker and sometimes struggles when things are 'grey'. He sometimes finds it hard not to argue. He is a very creative and logical thinker. His abilities give him a great advantage in strategic games, as he can usually figure out a way to win!
Joseph has been a Starfish student for a year. He has made significant progress in his ability to be flexible and his conversation skills. He is able to consider the wants/needs of others much more easily and is willing and able to engage in conversations with peers, which was difficult for him at first.
Joseph is supported by his parents and his sister, Rosalie. He would like to be a video game designer, a mathematician, or an author when he is older. Starfish Social Club has helped him practice and improve his social skills in a safe, supportive environment.
Zac is a 20-year-old college freshman at San Antonio College. He has Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, and anxiety and mood disorders. He struggles with all things relating to executive functioning - planning, time management, initiating and completing projects, homework, etc. Zachary has a joyful enthusiasm and sense of humor that are quickly contagious. He loves being 'the host with the most' and the center of attention - wanting everyone to join in the fun. Zachary uses the distractedness that comes with ADHD to manage the volatility of his emotions, often watching videos to calm him when he is emotional. He also loves a good play on words, and rolling his eyes at puns and terrible jokes. He wants to be the world's best accountant, and possibly a comedian on the side!
Zac has been a Starfish student for almost 2 years. He has volunteered with our younger students at summer camp and he is a great leader in our adult group, always making an effort to engage students who are less outgoing. He has made a lot of progress with his ability to be flexible and understanding the perspective of others.
Zachary's thoughts about Starfish Social Club - I've made good friends and it is fun in many ways. I feel like I have Ms. Stephanie who I can talk to when something important happens and I feel down.
From Mom & Dad - We love that Zac has made friends in a safe space that are going through the same things he is as a young adult with special needs learning to find his place in the world around him. It meant the world to us when he was feeling emotional about his grandfather passing away, that of all the people he had to talk to, he reached out on his own to Ms. Stephanie. We've seen our son grow in great ways as the group grows, and count on him continuing to stay with this awesome group of young adults led by Ms. Stephanie!
Bruno is a 13-year-old student in 7th grade. He has autism and ADHD. Bruno struggles with communicating effectively and making connections with peers his age. He is very friendly and helpful toward both adults and students. He also has a great memory and strong attention to detail. He can’t wait to get his drivers license and would like to make robots to help him clean his room!
Bruno has been a Starfish student for over a year. He has made significant progress in his ability to keep his brain in the group and follow the group plan. He is doing really well with learning to keep thoughts and scripts in his brain. He attends lots of extra activities with Starfish Social Club, like tween nights at the YMCA, game nights, and Lego building at the Botanical Gardens.
Family feedback: Bruno loves going to Starfish and looks forward to meeting with his group every week. He has grown emotionally and socially. He is able to communicate better with us and has made connections with other kids in school. He is becoming more confident and able to make conversations with other kids.
Tariq is a 13-year-old student in 8th grade at JSTEM Academy. He has been diagnosed with autism, ADHD, dysgraphia, and anxiety. He struggles with social skills, executive functioning skills, perspective-taking, and organization. Tariq excels in math, has a great sense of humor, and knows a lot about video games, including the year each version of each game system was introduced! He had the opportunity to be a manager for his school's basketball team last year. He hopes to become a computer engineer and is supported by his mom, Taqwa, as well as his older siblings Idris, Atiyah, and Siddiqah.
Tariq has been a Starfish student for almost 2 years and has made huge progress related to perspective-taking, flexible thinking and emotional regulation. He loves game time and prefers to play games that are mentally challenging. He also attends many outside activities with Starfish Social Club, like LEGO building, preteen night at YMCA, and Altitude Trampoline Park.
Noah is a 9-year-old 3rd grader. He struggles with making friends, asking for help, perspective-taking, and participating in group activities with same-age peers. Noah is very outgoing with adults and peers with whom he is familiar. He enjoys helping teachers and peers and is empathetic towards others. Noah loves visiting the ocean and the aquarium. He helped make Christmas cookies for the first time recently! He has mentioned wanting to be a veterinarian and a pilot and has recently shown an interest in large vehicles. Noah is supported by his mom and dad, gramma and her pup, as well as extended family in New Mexico and Minnesota.
Noah has been a Starfish student for a year and a half and has made significant progress with expected behaviors, perspective-taking, and group behaviors. This has allowed him to have play dates with other Starfish students as well as increased his ability to participate in school activities. When asked what he likes most about Starfish Social Club, he stated he likes playing games and that Ms. Stephanie is always there to take care of him! Noah also attends many outside activities with Starfish Social Club, like the DoSeum, the San Antonio Zoo, and Hemisfair Park.