Breaking through the barriers of autism

He had a difficult start in life. From birth Mateo was often ill and his speech development stopped at the age of two. The diagnosis: early childhood autism. For a long time, the family, a single mother and younger brother, stood alone with this huge problem - until they heard about Nehemiah Gateway. The then five-year-old received a therapy place and has now been coming to NG regularly twice a week for nine years. 

Hyperactive, unfocused, often aggressive - this is how his therapists got to know him. Speech and development therapy in combination with physiotherapy and a lot of patience brought the change. Gradually, he learned colors, numbers and letters. The aggressiveness lasted longer, but today he can handle other children quite well, even several hours a day at the beloved summer camp. 

With the help of professional speech therapist Suela, being encouraged to think logically and understand connections, Mateo made great progress lately. “You can't expect too much”, says Suela, "when asked who Mateo is, he now answers 'That's me'. He can tell mammals and birds apart as groups. Land animals don't have wings, so they can't fly. That makes sense to him now. He used to be completely disinterested, but for some time now he has become more curious. He is beginning to take an interest in his environment and to ask questions.” 

This was also a prerequisite for a further step out of social isolation: he now goes to school. He will never master the complete subject matter of the 6th grade, but he picks things up and above all he can leave the cramped apartment and is challenged. His younger brother has received a scholarship from NG for the Nehemia School, which takes a big burden off his mother's shoulders.

Today, Mateo is a different child. Still shy and withdrawn, but no longer aggressive. On the contrary, he smiles at everyone in a friendly way and also plays quietly in larger groups. He finally manages to break down inner barriers that kept him prisoner for too long.

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