"As a parent, I was struck by several things that make this preschool program different from others. First, it's an 11-month, half-day preschool. For us, this has provided a consistency that m… Read More
"Finding out about the Lucy Daniels Center changed all of our lives. Not only did we find help for our son, we found a network of child psychologists, phenomenal teachers, and the support of o… Read More
"Contacting the LDC was the best decision I ever made for my son. I can't begin to thank you and your staff enough for giving us a chance to find out what my son's real problems were and how t… Read More
"Three years ago, my older child was an enigma- very smart, funny, creative, but also terrified of light fixtures, ceiling fans and bathroom faucets. She was defiant, loud, sometimes very aggr… Read More
"To make a long story short, we had a great many difficulties with our daughter, when my husband and I relocated our family to the Triangle area from Canada. Our daughter and my husband and I … Read More
"I have visited many therapeutic preschools both in the U.S. and abroad, but your program is the most impressive that I have had the privilege to observe. The facility is superb and ideally su… Read More
"The toll of a loved one's death, divorce and chronic illness can complicate the lives of a child and his/her family that each day's burdens feel unbearable for all involved. Aches and pains, … Read More
Witness his performance on the stage, and you might never know that, as a three-year old, he was so unnerved by social dynamics that he would bark at people instead of speaking. Watch him put on a costume and assume a British accent, and you’d probably not suspect that he was once unwilling to make eye contact with his teachers. See the young man Peter has become, and you might not quite recognize the struggling little boy he used to be.
For much of that progress, his parents credit the Early School at the Lucy Daniels Center (LDC).
In the early years of his life, Peter—an only child—often behaved in ways his parents found odd. “Our son was a very strange two-year old,” says his mother. “Considering that most two-year olds exhibit unusual behavior, that’s saying something.” She remembers that Peter was easily upset by loud noises and struggled to interpret social cues. Leaving the house took arduous preparation. “We had to micro-manage every outing because his responses could be so unpredictable,” she says. After consulting with Dr. Barbara Snider, an LDC psychiatrist, it was decided a placement in the Center's Early School would provide the appropriate learning environment with attending psychological support.
It was a crucial intervention at a critical time in Peter’s development. “The Early School provided our son with the help and guidance he needed,” his mother says. “The teachers helped him learn how to navigate a preschool classroom at his own pace.” The low teacher-to-student ratio helped. “They eased him in, accommodated his interests. He was allowed to find his way in dealing with his issues, so that later on he was able to rise to the challenge of regular life and succeed,” she says.
The Center also provided vital support for Peter's parents. “No one at Lucy Daniels ever treated us like we were weird or strange,” his mother remembers. “They never made us feel like bad parents.” At a time when the public understood little about Asperger’s Syndrome—the neurological disorder Peter was eventually diagnosed as having—the expertise of the clinicians at the Center provided much-needed understanding for the entire family. “Our weekly meetings with Dr. Snider helped us learn coping strategies and created a sense of hope for Peter’s future,” she says.
Now nearly 12 years old and flourishing at a school with an integrated arts focus, Peter is smart and opinionated, loves computers, and relishes theatrical roles that, in his words, are “memorable and make people laugh.” In the school’s drama program he has found an environment that encourages his strengths and helps him cope with his continued lack of optimal social skills. He still struggles in decoding many social cues—it may not always register with him that he has said something that has upset someone, for example—but he is appreciated by his teachers and his peers for his hard work and talent.
Center executive and clinical director Donald Rosenblitt notes, “Some children come into this world with neurological differences that affect their ability to live in conventional society. With early intervention of the type the Center offers, these differences will often be much less extreme, and the children can grow into confident and capable adults, taking great pleasure from their capacities and unique gifts.”
The early intervention and acceptance provided in his preschool years at LDC have played an essential role in Peter’s success, his parents believe. “The Center really helped Peter come to terms with how his brain works, with his version of reality, so he could move forward and feel confident,” his mother says. “He has known for a long time that he has Asperger’s Syndrome and just incorporates that into his unique self-image. He likes to be different than everyone else.”
- Parent of an Early School student
As the Lucy Daniels Center celebrates its 25th year of service to the children of the Triangle, staff and parents who were there in the beginning are taking a look back at the journey that has… Read More