There are a lot of ways to describe a person.
Travis is a boy. Travis is 16 years old. Travis's favorite color is blue. All of these statements are true, but none of them tell you more about Travis than this-Travis is an athlete.
Travis came to Cunningham a wiry 12 year old. Over the past 4 years he has matured and developed into a young man who is driven by athletic participation and performance.
Cunningham's Special Therapies program provides Travis the opportunity to compete at soccer, track, softball, swimming, volleyball, and basketball. Our Special Therapy Specialists work with Travis on more than just his athleticism and sportsmanship. They model positive behaviors, remind him to be aware of his emotions and how they impact his behavioral choices, and hold him accountable for the decisions he makes.
Travis knows he has to work hard to manage his behaviors in order to participate in team activities. In the midst of difficult situations, he's learning to step back, make his choice and not simply react. Reflecting on his thoughts, feelings, and goals does not come naturally for him. Because of the trauma he experienced in his early life, his brain is wired to respond in impulsive ways.
When children like Travis experience neglect, exploitation, or abuse by their caregivers, they experience extreme emotions like fear, shame, and anger but lack the adult support they need to deal with those emotions. Destructive impulses and actions become routine behavior.
But at Cunningham, we know that learning and strengthening self control is possible! It's mostly about being motivated, focused, and disciplined enough to practice, practice, and practice some more.
As an athlete Travis knows all about practice, and with the support of Cunningham staff, his behavior continues to improve allowing him to compete in all of the sports he loves.
As a young man, Travis is learning to develop positive coping skills that will impact him for the rest of his life.
All of our stories are real, names and photo are selected to protect the privacy of the kids we serve.