Knock knock. Who’s there? Dallas.

February 22, 2013

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Knock knock. Who’s there? Dallas. Telling a simple knock knock joke may not seem like a big deal, but for Dallas Dircks, a participant in the Four Oaks Asperger’s program, it demonstrates how far he has come. Children like Dallas with Asperger’s or Pervasive Developmental Disorder often have difficulty understanding simple social interactions like telling jokes.

When Dallas was two years old his parents Randy and Cindy Dircks, could tell that their son was having difficulty developing speech. Doctors knew that something was not quite right, but it wasn’t until Dallas was five that he was formally diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, an Autism Spectrum Disorder. To Dallas’s parents that meant that their child might have some difficulties in life, but they expected success for him regardless.

Dallas’s mother, Cindy, was involved in Dallas’s success from the very start and found out about the Four Oaks Asperger’s program when Dallas was still in elementary school. The Asperger’s program works with middle and high school aged children with Asperger’s and Pervasive Developmental Disorder to improve their social skills, one of the key barriers for children on the spectrum.

As soon as he was old enough, Cindy enrolled her son in the Four Oaks program and began to see consistent results.  She highlights one moment in particular that made her step back in awe of her son’s development. The family had just arrived at the bowling alley on a cold and windy evening. Instead of walking directly into the establishment with no awareness of anything or anyone around him, Dallas stopped and held the door open for a woman that was coming in after him. For a child not on the Autism spectrum this would be no big deal, but for a child like Dallas, who struggles daily to interact with people, this was huge!

Dallas has done phenomenally in the three years he has been in the program. Program Coordinator Molly Main recently stated, “Dallas is an amazingly sweet kid and has the potential to be just as successful in life as his peers that are not on the spectrum. Ten years from now Dallas will be doing great things.”

Next year Dallas will move up to the high school level of Four Oaks’ program and both he and his mom are excited for the adventures that the new phase in his life will bring. We look forward to watching Dallas continue to excel.