A whole new outlook

Xavier smiling

When Xavier was little, only a few things bothered him. He didn’t like haircuts, and humming lights annoyed him, but he was a typical happy kid. It wasn’t until Xavier turned 5 years old and changed schools that his struggles began.

In kindergarten, Xavier had trouble recognizing numbers and letters and soon fell behind in class. He wasn’t making friends, couldn’t function in groups, and talked back to his teacher. The more Xavier struggled, the more his frustration grew. He became defiant and would try anything to be sent home. “We would get calls from the school at 8:30 in the morning, telling us to come and get him,” said his mom Erica. “We were at our wit’s end and didn’t know what to do.”

Then Xavier received a comprehensive psychology evaluation at the Easterseals Rehabilitation Center. “All of Xavier’s issues and diagnoses were identified in that one day of comprehensive Easterseals testing,” Erica said. It turned out that most of Xavier’s challenges and behaviors were the result of extreme anxiety. Easterseals offered practical solutions, including coping skills, headphones to reduce his discomfort with noises and crowds, and counseling sessions. Xavier’s parents Erica and Paul learned how to work with Xavier and with his teachers. On the first day of a new school year, Erica asked Xavier about his day, and he answered, “It was awesome!” That’s when she knew things were going to be okay.

Now at age 9, Xavier is doing great academically, has friends, and best of all, anxiety no longer rules his life. “He gets to enjoy trying new things!” said Erica. “That’s something I couldn’t have imagined just a couple of years ago!”

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