Braedyn makes progress in art class

Braedyn, a student on the autism spectrum, has show great progress at CIRCLE Academy.

Youth male at a table drawing a picture with a pink marker

Braedyn, a student in our CIRCLE Academy Education Program, gets his picture taken in art class every day.

“It’s really so sweet,” Ms. Evelyne, Cunningham’s art teacher, said. “Honestly, it’s part of his routine now, and that’s why I think he likes it. I took his picture once or twice and he began to expect it, so I continue to do it. I think it makes him feel special and like his art is important.”

It is important and helps to show the progress Braedyn has made in her class. She explained how Braedyn, who is on the autism spectrum, used to wear a helmet as protection for his emotional outbursts, and now, he doesn’t need to. She said before, on most days, he would throw things in the classroom and now, that’s a rare occurrence. In fact, Braedyn rarely has difficulty managing emotions in art class at all. While this shows significant growth, it’s just a glimmer of the progress he has made.

When Braedyn arrived at CIRCLE Academy in January of 2016, he was mostly nonverbal, sometimes saying only one word at a time. According to Ms. Lindsay, who has been teaching him for the past year and a half, Braedyn has made great strides with his adaptability and social skills, participating in group activities and forming strong bonds with his staff.

She said Braedyn has impeccable manners and shows kindness to his classmates. He also loves to paint cats and pirates in art, run and play beach volleyball in PE and win every round of bingo on Friday Fundays. Over the past month, Braedyn has been reading storybooks to CIRCLE staff and students each morning.

“We all look forward to them,” Ms. Lindsay said. “And his songs delight everyone who hears them. We love to see his silly and playful side come out throughout the day. I know that if either of us are absent, I will get a big hug and an ‘I missed you Ms. Lindsay’ the next day. And I couldn’t mention Braedyn’s progress at CIRCLE without also including Ms. Charm, his 1-to-1 staff. She has been Braedyn’s favorite person ever since she started at CIRCLE in the fall of 2022. To see their bond is heartwarming. It’s the reason I believe we all come together to do this work.”