Where are they now?
Giant Steps is very proud of our graduates who have attained many skills and are thriving as contributing members of their families, schools and communities.
Brendan is a proud Seneca College graduate and an employee of Intact Insurance. Although Brendan is a fully licensed driver, he enjoys taking the bus and subway to his admin assistant job in downtown Toronto. In his spare time, Brendan is busy with a variety of activities: he has his second degree black belt in karate, takes horseback riding lessons, plays hockey and ballroom dances. Brendan's parents report that he has been able to accomplish all this and achieve so much thanks to the many years of therapy and support he received at Giant Steps.
Mikayla is currently in Grade 6 at her neighbourhood school. Her transition from Giant Steps to a typical classroom went fairly smoothly, and while each day still presents itself with some challenge, it was the hard work of her teacher, program assistants and therapists at Giant Steps that prepared her so thoroughly.
Mikayla was the recipient of the “Yes I Can” award in 2014. She loves to swim and skate, and participates in Hip-Hop and Zumba classes. She enjoys reading and often claims that one day she would like to be an author.
Alessio is 11 years old, a friendly and cheerful boy who enjoys attending his local elementary school and playing soccer at recess. His favourite subjects are math and science. One day Alessio wants to become a storm chaser.
Outside of school, Alessio participates in various activities such as swimming and soccer. He is in a soccer houseleague and enjoys attending games and watching his favourite team, the Toronto FC. Part of Alessio’s success today can be attributed to all the support and encouragement from the caring staff at Giant Steps.
Although being on the autism spectrum continues to pose challenges academically and socially, Derek’s personality and perseverance help him to work through it.
Derek's graduated from high school as an Ontario Scholar and has won a number of other awards for academics and citizenship. He is attending Ryerson University, pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry. An avid sports fan, Derek plays house league hockey and enjoys going to movies regularly.
Nathan cannot speak, has a rare auditory processing disorder and daily seizures. Despite these immense challenges, Nathan now lives weekdays in his own home with support. The communication system of picture symbols and schedules established at Giant Steps in his early years are now on his iPad and he participates in many community activities including swimming, skating and horse care. His family has worked very hard to maximize Nathan's independence and they attribute much of his success to the many foundation skills he learned at Giant Steps.
Stefan is 16 years old and although he continues to face challenges at school and in the community, his positive attitude and friendly demeanour help him get through each day. He's now a Grade 11 student at his local high school, and enjoys skating, swimming, working out, going to the movies and listening to music. His parents attribute much of his success to the skills he acquired with the help of the dedicated staff and teachers at Giant Steps.
An ambassador for Giant Steps, Stefan recently spoke at KBSH Spirit Foundation's art gallery event and our Circle of Friends evening fundraiser. Stefan’s parents are very proud of all he’s accomplished so far!