Maria Corley recognized pretty early on that her son Malcolm was different.
His paternal grandmother was a child psychologist, so she had experience with what typical childhood development looked like, Maria said.
“She noticed that he lined things up for me,” Maria said. “She saw the speech delays. The eye contact thing.”
An evaluation led to a diagnosis: PDD-NOS, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified.
He was on the autism spectrum.
Malcolm was not quite 4 years old.
He started with Schreiber around the same time, first via home visits through Early Intervention then through appointments at the Center for therapy.
Emily Beddow was his occupational therapist almost from the beginning.
“He was 3, maybe 4, when I started seeing him,” Emily said. “We didn’t know if he’d even be able to write, (because of) the way he held his pencil. He’s really come a long way.”
He’s 19 now, tall and thin, like his mother. And he has artistic talents that started when he was young and have stayed with him into his young adulthood. When he was about 3, he started drawing images from the television show “Blues Clues.”
“Then he started doing Dr. Seuss pictures,” Maria said, “copying from ‘ABC’ and ‘Horton Hears a Who.’ When he started school, he had art class. You could see some talent there.”
Through school, his artistic talent continued to develop. He has had two solo art shows, the first through Millersville University’s Office of Visual and Performing Arts. That led to the second, at the Emerald Foundation’s Emerging Artist series.
At the same time, he has quietly launched a small business, Malcom’s Tiles, creating hand-decorated tiles that has helped him earn some money. He sold the tiles at the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 and at the National Autism Conference and raised enough money to pay for a trip he really wanted to take: to see the Dutch amusement park Juliana Toren.
“He found the park on YouTube, and he really wanted to go,” Maria said. “He wanted to go so he could hug the two mouse mascots.”
The importance of the experience wasn’t lost on Maria.
“I’m trying to impress on him the fact that making money is helpful,” she said. “If he has some sort of a job where he can also do art, that would be good.”
These are the things you think about when you have a child on the autism spectrum who is about to enter the adult world.
He was discharged from therapy a few years ago, but he still is part of the Schreiber family. He still attends Club 625 outings.
“It’s an important social outlet for him,” Maria said. “That’s something he really looks forward to, socializing with his peer group.”
And Emily and Lisa Christoffel, his speech-language pathologist, both keep in touch. They attended his art shows to show support.
“Some kids and some families leave more of an impression on you,” Lisa said. “I saw Malcolm for more than 10 years. He’s a special kid, and his mom has done such a great job with him.”
That feeling is definitely mutual.
“The caring I’ve felt from the people who have worked with him has been remarkable,” Maria said. “I could see the therapists were really invested in him as a person. When I brought him here, I didn’t even know what his voice sounded like, he was that non-verbal.
“From almost having no language at all, he has learned phrases that allow him to communicate and build relationships. He’s come a long way, definitely.”
The journey isn’t over by any stretch. Maria has the questions all parents have about their kids as they grow up: What will happen to him? How will he take care of himself? Will he have friends? It’s all just a so… unknowable with Malcolm.
“I’m not really sure what he thinks about friends and adult relationships,” Maria said. “Making friends is difficult. He’s interested in girls. He seems happy. But maybe he’s lonely and I just don’t know.
“We’ve talked about the fact that I’m not always going to be here, so he needs to learn to do things for himself.”
Maria will keep working with him on that, teaching him how to advocate for himself, helping him grow his art business. And like any other parent, she will hope for the best.
Maria Corley is a performing pianist and organist who plays concerts at venues around central Pennsylvania. She is also half of Duo Chiaroscuro with cellist Sara Male, frequently offering Silence Optional concerts for people on the autism spectrum. She has two children, Malcolm, 19, and a daughter, Kiana, 21. She lives in East Hempfield Township.
The teens from the Club 625 Camp gathered this week for one of their last outings of the summer, a visit to Sky Zone. Before they did that, they had an important job to take care of.
Every year, the campers do some kind of community service project. This year, as in the past few years, they collected non-perishable food items to help stock the food pantry at Grace Lutheran Church in Lancaster.
Every Wednesday, Grace Lutheran servces about 150 dinners to those in need of a free home-cooked meal. The Schreiber kids and their parents brought in numerous bags of pasta, spaghetti sauce, canned bake beans, salad dressings and more.
The kids have a week of fun activities and they help out some neighbors that are less fortunate. Nice work by Jay Graver and Carla Yando, who organize the camp, and by all the families who participated this year.
Speaking of Jay and Carla: After all of our camps end this month, they will be getting ready to welcome another group of S.T.A.R.S. preschoolers back to the classroom. And, once again, we would like to invite any Schreiber supporter who is also a customer of Giant Food Stores to participate in Giant’s A+ School Rewards Program. The program lets you earn cash for the schools you designate just by using your Giant BonusCard. If you have supported Schreiber in the past, you don’t need to re-register your card.
If you’re a new supporter or you want to make a change to your account:
Go to www.giantfoodstores.com.
Sign in to log into your Giant account, or register a new account.
Once you signed in, click on Manage My Account.
Click on the Rewards & Savings tab.
Click on the Change Schools button in the A+ School Rewards area, then select Schreiber S.T.A.R.S. from the list of schools.
Earn points and money for Schreiber from when the program runs, from Sept. 7 through March 16.
Register your card for Schreiber today!
Barbara Willders Tomlinson heard recently there was a photo of her as a girl on the wall at Schreiber, and she stopped by the center recently to see it.
“There I am,” she said, pointing up at a photos that’s part of the large Edna Schreiber piece that hangs in our main waiting area.
Barbara Willders is 82 now. She grew up in Lancaster and was slated to go to the George Washington School for seventh grade in 1949.
Then polio interrupted. She was 13 years old.
That year, 1949, was six years before the polio vaccine, and Barbara was one of 947 cases of the disease in Pennsylvania out of more than 42,000 cases nationwide, the second highest number on record, according to archival statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Barbara said she spent two weeks in the hospital and recuperated at home for most of the summer. She was able to attend school when students headed back in September.
“I was not paralyzed, but I walked funny afterward,” she said. “They used to let me go down the stairs first, by myself. And I had to wear these ugly brown shoes with big straps for about a year.”
She worked with Edna Schreiber weekly, using the Sister Kenny hot blankets that Edna had incorporated into her therapy work to restore muscle tone and movement.
“I would be wrapped up from my neck down to my feet,” Barbara said.
Her therapy continued through her time in seventh grade. She said Edna would pick her up at school, and they would go to what was then known as the Society for Crippled Children and Adults, where Edna worked.
“She was very kind and sweet,” Barbara said. “She would lay me down and have me do things, see how my legs were working.”
That’s pretty much what’s happening in the photo: Barbara is sitting on a table, and Edna is helping her straighten her right leg. Barbara is wearing a plaid skirt and a white blouse.
“That’s probably what I wore to school that day,” she said.
I helped her into a chair to pose for a picture. She uses a walker, but it’s not because of any lingering effects of the polio. An inner ear problem has left her with occasional dizziness and difficulties with balance.
She looked up at the photo again. She said she worked with Edna for about a year, and by eighth grade, she was mostly OK.
“I was one of the lucky ones,” she said.
Seventy years later, she was able to see how the work of Edna Schreiber continues. And she was able to see her own place in that history.
Working the checkout line at Stauffers of Kissel Hill in Lititz, Jason Hines keeps up a steady stream of chatter with every customer who comes through his line.
For some, he takes the numbers from their bill and references a date in history (he’s a history buff).
“You learn a lot of history here,” one woman told him.
For others, he’ll share something about himself.
“This is the third anniversary of my becoming a standup comic,” he told another woman.
For every customer, he found some way to add a little extra bit of service.
“You saved 299 pennies today,” he said to one couple. “Have a great day.”
He’s 18 years old, a high school graduate working and taking classes at the Lancaster campus of Harrisburg Area Community College.
The Jason the folks at Stauffers know now is a long way from the Jason who came to Schreiber at age 3. Even before starting at Schreiber, Jason had been diagnosed with autism and was receiving Early Intervention services. Jason’s specific diagnosis, said his mom Jackie, was PDD-NOS: Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.
“I had some problems talking and had some motor delays,” Jason said.
Jackie is a special instructor at Schreiber. She knows her way around education and kids with autism and other learning disabilities. Even for her, choices could be hard. When Jason was 5 and it was time to decide whether or not to start school, Jackie was torn.
“I struggled whether to keep him in early intervention or have him start kindergarten,” she said. “Cognitively, he was ready. But his expressive language with that of a 2 year old. Ultimately we decided to send him to kindergarten, and we had plenty of support services in place.”
Initially at Schreiber, he received all threee services and special instruction from Jay Graver in the S.T.A.R.S. Preschool. Eventually, he concentrated on occupational therapy, attending Schreiber until he was 8 to work on his sensory integration, fine motor skills and attention and focus.
By middle school, he had made a lot of progress, but he still worried that he wasn’t always speaking correctly.
“Once ninth grade hit, kids stopped being jerks, and I started making more friends,” Jason said.
In high school, he flourished. He was involved in an anti-bullying program, he did plays, he sang in the choir. He joined the Unite Club, Warwick High School’s Mini-THON in support of the Four Diamonds Fund.
“I raised the most money, which made me King of Mini-THON,” Jason said.
All of his success helped him become senior class vice president and gain enough confidence to start trying to become a performer. He has dabbled in stand up comedy, telling jokes and doing impressions. He made news this month when Lancaster Online noticed that his witty patter with customers included an impression of Philadelphia Eagles play-by-play announcer Merrill Reese.
That’s how he is every day on the job at Stauffers, always a willing performer, especially for little kids. He will talk like Mickey Mouse or do voices from “Monsters Inc.” or “Frozen.” He will ask them about their favorite characters. Kids will ask moms to go to Jason’s line when they check out.
Toni Lutz, a shift supervisor for the cashiers at the Lititz store, said she knew Jason before he even started working at Stauffers. He and her daughter Madeline went to school together at Warwick.
“He’s naturally that way,” Toni said. “He’s nicer than most people. He’s just kind. It’s refreshing.”
“We Delight Shoppers” is a lyric in the Stauffers jingle, and Jason said he sang that at the end of his job interview back in 2015.
“It helped me get the job,” he said. “My charm wins people over.”
At HACC, he’s taking classes with an eye on becoming a teacher, probably an elementary school teacher. Which means he would be working with little ones on their writing and speaking and making sure they were paying attention.
And that feels just about right.
UPDATE, 10/23: The first 500 visitors to light one of our luminaries will receive a free Stroopie from Lancaster Stroopies. If you haven’t had one of these, yet, don’t wait. Come to Schreiber on Nov. 9, light a candle and get a Stroopie.
UPDATE, 10/12: We confirmed that we will have our Extra Give party at the Federal Taphouse, at the corner of Queen and Chestnut streets, and just two blocks from the big Extra Give party at Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square.
UPDATE, 10/19: We will be at the Federal Taphouse throughout the day on Nov. 17, starting when they open for lunch at 11:30 a.m. When you are out and about downtown that day, stop in for lunch, dinner or drinks, and take a minute to donate to Scheriber. FM97’s DC will be on hand to play music from noon to 6 p.m. If you come by after work, we’ll have live music by Jen and Brad Rhine from Blue Sky Falls from 6-7, followed by MOE Blues from 7:30-8:30.
UPDATE, 11/16: We gratefully acknowledge support from three companies providing Business Matches for this year’s Give: Atlee Hall, Mid-Atlantic ProTel and Medisys Solutions.
Step 3: Remember to give extra during the Extra Give. Your past support has meant so much to us, but the demand for our therapy services continues to surge. Every dollar you donate helps us serve as many children as possible.
Please consider donating to Schreiber during the Extra Give on Nov. 17. When you give extra, extraordinary things happen.
Reason No. 1: The kids
Yes, Schreiberpalooza is a big party. The bands are great, there’s lots of adult beverages and tasty food. But it’s important to remember the reason we do the event to begin with: the Schreiber kids.
We serve more than 3,000 children a year at Schreiber, through our therapy programs, our preschool and daycare and our recreation programs. We help kids take their first steps, say their first words or hold their parents’ hands for the first time.
We see kids who need a little bit of help with speech or handwriting. And we see kids who need a lot of help with learning to walk or dressing themselves.
And we can’t do any of it without community support, through events like Schreiberpalooza. Because pediatric therapy reimburses so poorly, we have to raise more than $1 million a year to cover all of our costs. Palooza is an important part of our fundraising, and we want to see a big crowd at Clair Brothers in Manheim Saturday night.
Every ticket we sell counts. Every dollar counts. Please pick up your Palooza tickets today.
To order tickets online, go here.
For details on the event, go here.
See you Saturday!
Reason No. 2: The bands
We’re fortunate to have the support of some amazing local musicians. There are some familiar names in this year’s lineup.
The Mama Tried Band: One of Lancaster County’s most popular dance bands, thanks to a big sound supporting Dorden Bivings’ dynamic voice.
Good2Go: Powerhouse danceable rock, led by former Schreiber board members Jim Darby and Scott Bacon.
3rd Power Family Soul: With Diane Yates belting out the lead vocals and a tight R&B outfit behind her, they impressed in their Palooza debut last year.
MOE Blues: Down and dirty Chicago-style blues built around Albie von Schaaf’s gritty guitar and Kevin Gannon’s howling harmonica.
Don’t forget: Pick up your printed Palooza tickets here at the Center, or order tickets online. Advance tickets are $20. And if you’re into the super high-end audio gear that Clair Brothers is known for, check out the VIP Backstage Package.
Don’t forget, part 2: We will have 600 chairs, so you can leave the lawn chair at home this year.
Reason No. 3: Thank the generous businesses that supported us
Sponsors form the foundation for much of the success we have with our fundraising events, and Schreiberpalooza is no exception.
We are grateful for the support of Palooza’s Rock and Roll Sponsor, Pinnacle Health’s Lebanon Valley Advanced Care Center. We also want to recognize our Roadie Sponsors: M&T Bank, Versatek and McNees Wallace & Nurick; and our Groupie Sponsors: Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School, EHD Advisory and Brereton Manor.
And we wouldn’t be able to do Palooza without several generous partners who donated or deeply discounted their services, including Clair Brothers, Lancaster Dispensing Co., Traveling Tap, Troeg’s Brewing Co., Hess Tent Rental, Mojo Barriers and Federal Taphouse.
We also want to thank several generous individual supporters who donated time, treasure or both to the cause: Dave and Amanda Campbell, Todd Frick and Vance Antonacci.
Reason No. 4: Enjoy great food from DipCo
Every year, the food at Palooza is one of the best things about the Schreiberpalooza. Lancaster Dispensing Co. caters the event, and they donate 100 percent of the food sales from the night to Schreiber. Sure, come for the music and helping the kids, but while you’re there enjoy some of the tasty treats that Judy Ross and her crew serve up. This year’s menu will include beef brisket, chili and macaroni and cheese. Judy is also a dedicated member of the Schreiberpalooza planning group. She plays a big role in making sure the logistics work well, and she works with her vendors to make sure we have donated wine for the night. Thanks, Judy and DipCo!
Reason No. 5: Hear awesome music in Clair’s amazing space
Clair Brothers is part of a music and entertainment enterprise that is known around the world for providing the best quality live music production. As it did last year, the company will provide its demonstration space in Manheim and some of the finest audio professionals in the world to make the bands at Schreiberpalooza sound extra good.
If you like great live music, this is the place to hear it and see it.
Visit our Palooza page here to learn more.
He received therapy, attended preschool (and worked with Jay Graver, Mr. Jay, the current preschool and camp director) and spent many summers at Church of the Apostles for camp.
“So many memories coming in here,” Justin said, looking around the church’s gym. “It’s so big, and we had so much fun. It was a great way to socialize and make friends. I still have friends that I made here at camp and preschool.”
Justin returned as part of his job. He’s an administrative officer at the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. The main part of his work involves going to schools, libraries, camps and other children’s groups to read “The Fair Housing Five,” a kids book about fair housing agencies.
“My experience at Schreiber taught me: There are no limits,” Justin said. “Schreiber was always very encouraging. The message was: You can do whatever you think you can do, you just do it differently. It was never about what you can’t do. Always what you can do.”
We have a better building. We obtained several substantial donations, including grants from the Stabler and High foundations, that allowed us to replace our aged HVAC system. We also replaced the plumbing, carpeting and repainted throughout the public areas. We managed this without having to spend one dollar from our operating funds.
We have better technology. After raising more than $85,000 in dedicated funds, we were able to completely overhaul our IT infrastructure. We replaced two aging, overloaded servers with two new servers. We updated our billing and scheduling software for the first time in 12 years, and we purchased new accounting software for the Finance Office.
We raised the bar on fundraising: One of the four main goals of the Schreiber Strategic Plan passed by the Board in September 2014 was to raise $1 million net on annual basis within three years. We reached our goal after one year through increases across all areas of Financial Development. We had the largest fundraiser in Schreiber’s history when our annual Phonathon, which only began three years ago, brought in more than $180,000.
We also hired staff in all therapy departments to keep pace with increased demand, and our rebranded daycare is filled to capacity. But here’s the most important thing to remember: Thanks to your continued partnership and support, we will continue to provide the life-changing services that are so needed within our community. We look forward to sharing more successes as we celebrate our 80th anniversary in 2016.
James DeBord is president of Schreiber Pediatric. Jon Hill is chairman of the board of directors.
That is one thing that has always frustrated me: being out there trying to figure out the road ourselves.
We are a family of four. Erin and I have been married for 27 years. We have two children, Jason (18) and Kiana (21). Kiana suffered her TBI in a car accident on Aug. 27, 2005. She and Erin were on their way to school for a basketball open gym when another car slammed into theirs broadside. The force of the impact shattered Kiana’s face from her eyes up. She was 11 years old.
That day turned all of our lives upside down. Jason, who was a happy kid in third grade at the time, had to stay with multiple friends and family as we spent time with Kiana at Hershey Medical Center. Kiana was a good student and a successful athlete. She played both softball and basketball and competed in horse-riding competitions. But she has spent the past 10 years trying to work her way back, a struggle that still goes on and, of course, has its ups and downs.
Kiana had to relearn everything. In her 84 days in Hershey, she went the full spectrum from not being supposed to survive to coming home right before Thanksgiving and her birthday, then going to Schrieber Pediatric for physical, speech and occupational therapy.
We are 10 years into this journey, and, yes, there were and are some really tall hurdles to get over for all of us. But God has been so good to us. Kiana continues to improve and fight to get back what was lost.
If you’d like to check out more information on her journey, please feel free to check out her story on CarePages.com (registration required), an online community for visitors to share the challenges, hopes and triumphs of anyone facing a life-changing health event. We started this page only a few days after her accident and have continued it to this day.
We have learned many things along the way, and I have a few topics in mind for future blog posts, including:
- Living with the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury
- Navigating the school system when you have a child with a physical and mental challenge
- Advice for parents whose kids are transitioning to adulthood
Troy Brown and his family live in Gap.
This is just a recap of our get-together held Sept. 17 at the Olde Hickory Grille. About 15 of us met in the party room. There was lots of chatting and making friends.
Some parents gave information on applying for Social Security’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Their information came from experience, and we had handouts printed from the SSI website. REMEMBER, none of us are SSI employees, so the info shared is coming from parental experience. You have to do what is right for you and your kiddo. Apply in person, online, phone, whatever works for you. Now you know there are options.
We also shared information on a new exercise class available for teens and young adults with special needs at Spooky Nook. Classes are being run by the I AM ABLE Foundation and will start at Spooky Nook in mid-October.
The next Parents 625 get-together will be 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, at Schrieber Pediatric. We may have a physical trainer from I AM ABLE speaking to us that night for a bit, then afterwards… you know, chatting and Halloween fun! Yes, I’ll be in costume.
See you soon!
Reenie Panzini lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania (originally from Brooklyn, NY) and is the mother of three. Her 18-year-old daughter has a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and is transitioning into adulthood… whatever that means.