Nicholas has always been a cheerful guy with a great sense of humor. Even as a toddler with no language, he made people smile with his big eyes and floppy brown curls.
Getting Nick properly diagnosed, effectively treated and appropriately educated was a challenge. It took nine months for a neurologist to diagnose his seizure disorder at age two. And, he wasn’t officially diagnosed with autism until age eight. In the meanwhile, clinicians gave him a variety of labels, which made it difficult to get the right services. We know many families grieve when their child is diagnosed with autism, but, for us, it was a relief. We finally had an understanding of the interventions Nick needed to move forward.
For years, Nick’s school experience was a hodgepodge of programs in a variety of different classroom settings. He always seemed to arrive at the tail end or very beginning of programs that might otherwise have been appropriate. Thus, when MCPS finally agreed to place him at the Harbour School we were thrilled. We only wish he could have spent more time in a setting that combined real academics (paced and supported appropriately) with social, life and employment skills training. For Nick, Harbour was a great match.
Nicholas loves cooking, and after high school graduation he was accepted into the Sunflower Bakery and Cafe Training Program, gaining invaluable skills and experience there. He was also approved for adult services, such as personal supports, community outings and employment coaching. Nick loves the activities organized by his agency, TLC Outcomes, in addition to hanging out with the other young adults there. We’ve learned over the years that having autism doesn’t mean being anti-social!
Nicholas currently works part-time at Harris Teeter, making sandwiches in the deli. His hobbies include guitar, karate, video games and, of course, cooking. He and his dad produce a YouTube show, The Cheesy Chef, once a month, and he’d love for you to take a look: www.thecheesychef.com. For now, Nick lives at home with his mom, dad and two dogs (Sam and Toby). His mom coordinates his schedule and activities, which include rehearsing and singing in the choir at her church (she’s a pastor). His brothers, Teddy and Tate, are both at college, though they come home regularly. Nick loves it when his bros visit but knows they’ll soon be away most of the time. By then, he really wants to have his own place with friends and roommates. He thinks Main Street sounds awesome and hopes to share an apartment and take part in all the fun activities and events in the community center as soon as it’s ready!