For LIFEPlan member Spencer Blevins, challenges are part of everyday life. Spenser is a young man on the Autism Spectrum but that has not stopped him from doing what he loves.
Spencer was struggling in school. Like many who have autism, he needed support learning how to respond to different social situations. In a homeschool setting with his family by his side, Spencer worked hard for two years to develop the skills to successfully return to school and see his friends.
Tabitha Blevins, Spencer’s mom, shared, “Spencer did not like homeschooling at first, but then he adjusted and began working hard with the end goal of going back to school. He is excited to return this year as a 7th grader but knows there is a possibility it won’t happen due to COVID-19.”
With the uncertainty of what school will look like come fall, Spencer continues to build his computer skills, so he is ready if classes are done virtually.
George Getson, who is Spencer’s LIFEPlan Care Manager added, “Spencer is very smart young man and is super excited to be going back to school. He never ceases to amaze me.”
Getting back to school isn’t the only thing Spencer is passionate about. For 8 months prior to COVID-19 putting a pause on his lessons, Spencer attended weekly sessions of Tae Kwon Do at Owego Gymnastics & Activity Center.
This journey started because Spencer wanted to build his strength and coordination. Spencer and his family worked with George to find a suitable option to accomplish this. After searching providers, they found Body Works Physical and Aqua Therapy. Aqua Therapy was perfect for Spencer’s needs.
Wanting to provide Spencer with additional opportunities, Tabitha said, “We were looking within our community for an activity to build his strength, help him feel good about himself and increase his attention span.” Spencer was the first in his family to attend Tae Kwon Do but his brother and sister would go along to watch his lessons. They watched as Spencer had fun while learning new skills. Before long, his brother and sister were taking lessons too.
As a result of Spencer’s dedication and hard work, he mastered the skills to test for his first gold stripe. Gold stripes indicate advancement to the next level, the yellow belt. On a cold Saturday in January, Spencer put his skills to the test breaking a board in half with a kick he was trained in using. No easy feat, but Spencer was up for the task.
When it was his turn, Spencer approached the board with nervous confidence. His first few tries were unsuccessful, but in true Spencer form, he did not give up. With encouragement from his coaches, family and friends, Spencer tried again, and this time broke the board in half! Spencer was thrilled with his accomplishment, but the best part was doing it in front of his family and friends.
“I was honored that Spencer asked me to attend and would have not missed it for anything,” said Getson. “Spencer is normally a shy person, but on this day, you could see the excitement in his face with the huge smile.’ Congratulations Spencer, keep pursuing your dreams.