Eight-year-old Malakhi is bright-eyed, smart, and curious. He loves second grade, especially math, and his teachers say he’s always cheerful and kind. So, last year when he started getting agitated more easily and showing big emotions in the classroom, Malakhi’s mom, Amanda, began looking for answers. She knew something was causing him to feel misunderstood, scared, and frustrated.
“That was not my Malakhi,” explained Amanda.
Working alongside Malakhi’s school psychiatrist and pediatrician, Malakhi was soon diagnosed with autism. Amanda was grateful to have diagnosis, but also concerned about how to best support her son. The single mother turned to her sister, Deborah, and their mother, Latrice. Together, they would become Malakhi’s caregivers and support system. Still, they struggled with the ways to communicate with Malakhi that would help him the most.
Fortunately, your profound support of Thornwell’s Strengthening Families program opened the door for Malakhi and his “wonder women” (as they were soon nicknamed) to find just the help they needed!
Amanda signed the whole family up for the 14-week course held on Thornwell’s campus in Clinton, South Carolina. Together, they flourished in courses built to support strong communication practices. Plus, they were surrounded by a strong sense of community at every turn. Every week, a family leader worked their family, empowering them with new skills to help them better understand Malakhi’s needs and provide necessary structure. Amanda learned she needed to listen to Malakhi more, and recognize he has a voice of his own.
“We don’t like to label him; we now like to let him express himself the way he wants to,” said Amanda.
In his own way, Malakhi was able to share that he often that his emotions were “too big.” It was this moment that allowed them to turn a corner towards powerful and positive life change.
“With his unique way of learning things, that was not common in our family. For us to see the world through his eyes, we must rally together, to make sure he understands he has a great support system and family on his side,” said Malakhi’s Aunt, Deborah.
Because you believe in empowered communities in which all people can experience both life and love in abundance, Malakhi’s family has made tremendous strides and he no longer feels invisible. Amanda said she is proudly grateful to YOU for loving her special boy so well.
“It can be hard to understand the extent of the families who need this program, who needs the support, and who needs the information to have a loving, bonded, happy family,” said Amanda. “Thank you for giving to this program so Malakhi could find his voice again!”