In The Words of Our Parents
“That’s a gem – that little red building on a corner,” Ceil smiles. “New York Center for Child Development was Marquis’ home away from home. He had a wonderful experience there and you could see the difference in him. He would come off the bus from school every day and people would say, ‘Wow, Ceil. Marquis has really grown. He’s so smart now. You hear him talking?’” It was gradual, but it was big.”
Marquis Kearse was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) when he was 16 months old. His pediatrician confirmed Ceil’s fears that “certain things about him were a little off,” she says. “He wasn’t talking at all, just babbling and pointing. I took him for an evaluation because I didn’t want to keep waiting and waiting and let him fall further behind. Early detection is the best prevention for everything. I was really ready to get the best services for my son.”
Marquis started with Early Intervention services at home. When he turned three, he entered the New York Center for Child Development’s preschool for children with special needs.
“New York Center has it all,” she says, “the classroom setting, speech, physical and occupational therapy, emotional counseling. The staff is very, very nice and encouraging. They couldn’t give me a definite outcome, but they reassured me if I continued to send Marquis to school, they were going to work with him so he could be the best that he could be. What more can a parent ask for? ”
“The moon and the stars,” she laughs. “By the middle of the school year, Marquis was coming home from school talking about them and so many other things. I’d say, ‘Where did he get this information?’ At New York Center, they really broaden the children’s minds. Every teacher brings something different. They deal with different children and they approach them in different ways to get their attention and hold their interest.”
“They taught me, too,” she adds. “They sent home pamphlets and letters. Some parents talked to them every day. We had workshops at the school and they would come to my house and talk about how Marquis was behaving and how I disciplined him. They would teach me specifically how to work through certain situations with him.”
“I felt confident and comfortable there,” Ceil goes on. “I knew they would take care of Marquis. He loved going to school. He loved the teachers. He loved his classmates. He loved the activities. They have a gym where the children ride on tricycles and climb and use their legs and arms and learn how to maneuver their bodies. Marquis was awkward, but he got better by going every day. He rode the tricycle. Even though he started riding backwards, eventually, he got the hang of it. He learned how to listen, pay attention and follow instructions.”
Marquis now attends a public school kindergarten, comprised of children with and without disabilities.
“He’s the outgoing child,” Ceil says. “Before he went to New York Center, he wasn’t interacting at all. He was in his own little world amongst other children. Now, when I walk him to school, he runs up to his classmates and says, ‘Come on, let’s play.’ He’s the one who brightens everything up.”
Marquis graduated from New York Center in 2007 and now attends a New York City public school kindergarten.