Easterseals helps child reach communication milestones

PEORIA, Il. - Described by his mother as having a genuinely kind soul, Coulton's always the one wearing a smile everywhere he goes.

“He is my little mister, he's everything. He is so affectionate, very very sweet,” said mother Marina Montross.

Coulton has autism, which limits his skills when it comes to interacting with others. His family has yet to hear their son's voice, but what's normal in Coulton's life now was once impossible. Everyday tasks like asking for food or telling his parents if he wanted to go up or down the stairs, couldn't be done.

“He had no form of communication, the way he was able to get his need and wants was met through pulling and crying,” said Nia Staggs of the Autism Learning Center of Easterseals.

Once they learned about the services Easterseals offers in Central Illinois, Coulton's family knew it was the perfect place for him to grow.

Montross says, “Within the first week he was making eye contact, he understands now what communication means and how to get the things that he would like.”

It's only been five months since Coulton first came to the ACL at Easterseals but he's already making strides and reaching milestones every day. Staff encourage Coulton to communicate through a picture exchange communication system, an education tool that teaches Coulton that tantrums and screaming will not help him succeed.

Montross adds, “He has a sense of stillness about him that he didn't have before, as if he was thinking you know instead of just reacting,”

When Coulton isn't scheduled to come in to the ALC, he still puts on his backpack and showcases that famous smile of his.

“He has made major milestones as communication, ability to follow instructions, just anything we are targeting with him, he is making growth,” Staggs said.

Coulton's mom couldn't be more thankful for all Easterseals has done for her family.

“The Things they have done for Coulton and the ways they've been able to help him not only astound me but it is moving. it is personal it is touching,” Montross said.


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