High Hopes for the Holidays

The holiday season is filled with exciting events many children look forward to all year long. Four year-old Scott Cacciatore is no exception. But, as a child with autism who is non-verbal, his holiday experiences have been very different from other children. Even simple traditions, like visiting Santa have been difficult.

But, his mom, Jen, is excited to see how this year will be different for her son.

All year long Scott has been working with his Good Shepherd therapists and a Dynavox computer system. As he has learned to choose pictures on a keyboard that his DynaVox can say out loud for him, Scott has found his voice! This amazing technology has helped end the frustration both Scott and his family felt when he was unable to communicate his wants and needs. With help from his DynaVox, this year Scott will be able to say yes or no to that Santa visit. And, if he wants to, he’ll even be able to give Santa his Christmas wish list just like other kids.

Good Shepherd is a national leader in the use of rehabilitation technology. By combining expert hands-on therapy with new innovations we’re helping children and adults with disabilities live life to the fullest each and every day.

As you can imagine, the costs for equipment, fast-changing technology and on-going training are a financial challenge. But generous support from caring donors like you helps with expenses insurance and other funding sources often don’t cover and ensures patients, like Scott, can reap the benefits of these exciting advances.

It’s especially important to incorporate these tools into the early learning experiences of young children. As Scott’s mom said, "This technology gives opportunities for children to improve in areas they might not otherwise if they don’t get it early. While they’re young is the time to do it!"

Scott’s weekly sessions at Good Shepherd include feeding therapy as well as physical and occupational therapy. Like many children with autism, he has trouble adjusting to different sensory experiences. But, with all the progress he’s made, his mom has high hopes he’ll enjoy a few new experiences this year, "I’m hoping he’ll want to help with the holiday baking, maybe rolling the dough and cutting out his first cookies. He’s learning to try new foods and has been exposed to many new things. This year we’re hoping he’ll even try turkey and some of the other holiday trimmings we all enjoy."

Family budgets are often strained with extra costs that come with caring for a special needs child and added holiday expenses. The generous contributions received from Good Shepherd donors provide help to patients and their families they need it most.

Please share Scott's story and other inspiring Good Shepherd patient stories with your family and neighbors. It’s because you care that this will be the most memorable and exciting Christmas for Scott and so many others.

YOU can make a difference in Scott's life and other children's by clicking here to make an online donation now.