Special boy needs special forever family

By Gillian Sheridan gsheridan@cbs19.tv

Jonathan is a sweet boy in foster care in East Texas who responds well to positive attention.

"He is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder," Kim Rhodes, his Child Protective Services caseworker, said. "He needs help with all daily skills. He does feed himself and can do some of his dressing, but not all of it."

For the most part, this 12-year-old is non-verbal, but is making progress in sixth-grade special education classes.

"He is able to do puzzles," Ms. Rhodes said. "His teacher told me he knows 50 to 60 sight words. He's just not able to communicate those things. He will also need to continue speech therapy and occupational therapy."

Despite his autism, it's believed some of his issues are compounded by his past.

"It seems that he was not allowed to talk," Ms. Rhodes said. "I think there is so much more in there that hasn't come out yet. He was afraid for so long that I think now he's gotten to where he's not as afraid and he could really make some progress."

Jonathan needs a patient and understanding family willing to work with him and give him one-on-one attention.

"He's a lot more affectionate than you would think with the autism issue, but he does laugh and he does smile quite often," Ms. Rhodes said.

Jonathan is a young boy, just waiting to be loved.

"He deserves a family just like everyone of our kids," she said. "He's very special and I think he has some potential that the right family could find in him."

To learn more about Jonathan, join Gillian Sheridan for her "Children are a Gift" report, Tuesday night on CBS 19 News at 10. You can also find information on www.CBS19.tv and www.tylerpaper.com. To inquire about an East Texas foster child waiting to be adopted, call 903-533-4242.



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