Like many pre-teen students, Dewayne Holmes is full of energy. This was certainly the case when he started at SSD’s Litzsinger School in the fall of 2017. He often acted out unpredictably with severe hyperactivity, running from one end of the school to the other. Unable to stay calm or sit, he moved constantly. He was also slow to trust people and had over-reactive aggression toward peers and staff at times. But with time, and the efforts of many at Litzsinger, Dewayne has made great changes to his behaviors to the point he has become a leader at the school, as well as an eager learner and good friend to others.
For Dewayne, it wasn’t an overnight change. During his two years at Litzsinger, it has been a gradual change of steady growth toward meeting the goals set before him. But one event that does stand out is when he took it upon himself to speak up and advocate for a fellow student when they were having a difficult time. Since then, Dewayne has continued to be a role model and good friend to others. He helps one of his classmates off the bus every morning, assisting him with his wheelchair and making sure he gets to his class.
“They have a very brother-like relationship,” said his teacher Erin Madden. “He loves helping friends and peers around the building.”
Along with peers, Dewayne has developed strong relationships with adults and instructors in the building. He often finds the nurse’s office to be a safe retreat in moments of excitement and frustration. And he seeks out multiple staff members outside of his classroom to read with every day for extra practice.
“He really has been able to reach out to adults in his life and learn new coping skills and applied those in his academics,” said nurse Debbie Tuitasi. “He’s so interested now in his own development; it’s been inspirational to watch him.”
Dewayne still faces challenges each day and will continue to do so. But his positive responses to them have shown Dewayne the impact on himself and others when he’s meeting the challenges. He’s still full of energy, and now that it’s more focused, he’s headed in the right direction.