Mosaic Connects Isaiah with Community
John T and Yuko Worm felt grief when their son, Isaiah, was diagnosed with autism as a toddler.
“No parent expects to have this kind of diagnosis. It breaks your heart,” John T said.
Their faith in God, however, sustained them and restored hope. Now, working with Mosaic, their hope is affirmed, and life continues to get better—for Isaiah, and for them.
Isaiah’s story is one I’m happy to share. It highlights how the supports Mosaic provides not only help individuals, but also help families. Plus, Isaiah, with his infectious smile, is such a delight to know. I think you’ll enjoy learning a little about him.
John T and Yuko will tell you Isaiah was a gift. They were living in Japan as missionaries and, after 18 years of marriage without having a child, they applied to an adoption organization. When they received a six-month old boy, they were elated.
For nearly 18 months, they watched him develop in typical ways. But suddenly that changed.
“He stopped talking,” John T said. “Everything stopped. You could see in his eyes that suddenly that little boy that was there was not there anymore. There was someone there, but he was looking right through you. And then he stopped progressing.”
After six months of waiting for a diagnosis, they were told Isaiah is autistic.
Yuko said she was “frantic,” trying to find resources for their son because few resources are available in Japan for early intervention. She learned to do therapy with him at home while the couple made preparations to move to the U.S. for better options.
There were steps forward and steps backward for Isaiah over the years. In addition to autism, Isaiah has a cognitive disability—he excels in some areas, but struggles greatly in others, his father said.
Isaiah has trouble interacting with people, especially with children his own age. He also can be easily distracted and, as his attention flits from one thing to another, isn’t always mindful of safety in public.
Mosaic staff who meet with Isaiah weekly work to teach him lessons in these areas.
“I’m trying to focus on keeping him safe in the community,” said Tim Grove, a Mosaic staff member who supports Isaiah regularly. “He is so easily distracted and he doesn’t understand the things that can happen. It doesn’t connect with him.”
When they’re out, Tim reminds Isaiah not to skip right into the street when he wants to cross, but to look both ways. He is helping him learn not to wander onto private property and into places he shouldn’t go. He works to help Isaiah learn simple social cues, like smiling at someone you meet on the sidewalk.
Yuko has seen a difference.
“They don’t push him, they really listen to him,” she said. “He has started expressing his wants and needs … his communication skills have gotten better.”
Today, 14-year-old Isaiah is a happy teenager. He skips everywhere he goes rather than walking, his smile lights up a room, and he is excited about life. His Japanese name, his father said, is Hikaru, which means “light.”
“He makes people smile, makes people laugh,” John T said. “When you meet him for the first time, that’s what people say.”
Mosaic’s time with their son in the community is also good for John T and Yuko. They found, as many couples do, that when all the attention gets focused on the needs of their child, it takes a toll on their relationship.
John T said the “much needed” break they get allows them to have a date night, spend time together and focus on one another.
“We need that time together,” he said. “It is very important to help (us) stay together and connect as a couple.”
Mosaic also helps them find support from others. Through activities Mosaic organizes with other families of children with autism, the couple finds understanding and community.
“You realize you’re not alone,” he said. “Families with autism can easily become isolated.”
Yuko uses words like “genuine,” “kind” and “trust” when she speaks of Mosaic. As president and CEO of the organization, that makes me proud.
I hope it makes you proud as well. As a partner with Mosaic through your gifts, you help individuals and families thrive.
Please make a gift today so others can thrive like Isaiah, John T and Yuko.