Over the next few weeks, 9OYS will be telling you the stories of lives who have been changed with a program called Aces for Autism, which is held at Greenville’s Oakmont Church. The program assists families and children struggling with autism.
GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Meet Henry: a little boy who is loved by not only his parents, Melissa and Chris Barnes but also has stolen the hearts of those at Aces for Autism.
“Henry loves it here,” said Chris Barnes. “It means a lot to him to come here every day. He knows where we’re going when we get in the car.”
But it didn’t begin like that.
“Henry has been on a journey,” said Amy Moore, Aces for Autism program coordinator. “He started here in January, and I would come in and hear Henry crying.”
Henry was diagnosed with autism at 2 years old.
“When he came home from the hospital it took him a while to meet his goals that normal children would meet,” Melissa Barnes said.
His parents noticed he couldn’t sit up or eat very well.
“We knew very early that he was not like other kids,” said Chris Barnes. “He didn’t do the same things at the same times and he didn’t make eye contact.”
So they ventured out looking for a place to help Henry, and they found Aces for Autism.
“Aces has brought joy into our lives,” said Melissa Barnes. “That we are a completely different family because of Aces.”
Since then, he’s made a lot of progress.
“He has so much more eye contact,” said Amy Moore. “He’s got a lot of vocalization. He asks you to hold him.”
He is also OK with bath time, which Melissa said was a struggle before.
“It got to the point I was using dry shampoo and wet wipes,” said Melissa Barnes. “And I was trying to make it easier for him and for me. Cause it was horrible.”
Time and patience did the trick and now they know how to work with Henry when bath time rolls around.
“He is doing so good now,” Melissa Barnes said.
Aces then began to change their entire life, so they decided to move an hour to Greenville.
“This place is better for Henry,” said Chris Barnes. “It’s better for all of our family, so this place will be home.”
Melissa Barnes agreed.
“This has changed our life,” she said. “It has changed Henry’s life.”
If you want to help Aces for Autism, the organization will hold its 4th annual dinner and auction on October 16 at 6:30pm at the Greenville Convention Center.
For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.