A North Florida Success Story: Wilhelmina and William’s Journey

When Sedric, a dedicated Care Coordination Consultant at Boys Town North Florida, first met Wilhelmina and her father, William, he knew they faced significant challenges. This resilient family had moved from Brevard County to Crawfordville, seeking better opportunities and support for 12-year-old Wilhelmina.

Dealing with DiGeorge syndrome, a chromosomal disorder that mimics autism spectrum disorder, Wilhelmina is non-verbal. She requires extensive support services, including speech therapy, occupational therapy, applied behavior analysis (ABA), and assistance with activities of daily living.

Upon their move, the family encountered a major roadblock: Wilhelmina's address was still registered in Brevard County, preventing her from enrolling in a new school and accessing necessary therapies. This bureaucratic hurdle left her without educational and therapeutic support for the 2023-2024 school year.

Compounding the challenge, Wilhelmina's maternal grandmother, who took them in, was initially hesitant about receiving Boys Town’s help due to negative past experiences with other providers. But Sedric, a Care Coordination Consultant at Boys Town North Florida, would soon win her over with his unparalleled commitment to getting services for Wilhelmina.

In June 2023, Sedric began working tirelessly with various entities, including the insurance company, Medicaid, the Department of Children and Families and local contacts in Northwest Florida to obtain a correct address authorization so referrals and services could begin. After numerous attempts and persistent advocacy, the address was finally updated, leading to the approval of Wilhelmina’s ABA therapy in April 2024.

Wilhelmina faced health challenges that often delayed the start of services. She also exhibited behaviors like hitting, biting, and pulling hair. Despite these obstacles, Sedric coordinated ABA services with Positive Behavioral Supports and linked Wilhelmina to Progressive Pediatrics for physical and occupational therapy.

Sedric’s efforts to secure and manage Wilhelmina’s services involved daily communication with providers, attending doctors’ appointments to obtain necessary documents and meeting with the family weekly for extended periods. His persistence paid off, and after seven months of relentless work, Wilhelmina began to receive the much-needed services.

Wilhelmina's progress during this time has been encouraging. She has shown improvement in regulating her emotions and can now point and sign to communicate her needs, thanks to interventions. The family also received much-needed support in other areas, including food assistance through SNAP and other financial benefits.

Throughout this period, Sedric focused on empowering William, who despite his own physical health issues, was determined to advocate for his daughter's needs. Sedric provided guidance on navigating resources and connecting the family with support services. And William consistently engaged with the processes and worked to ensure his daughter received the care she needed.

One of the most heartwarming aspects of this journey was the joy and involvement of Wilhelmina and her father with Sedric, their Boys Town Care Coordinator. Their radiant smiles reflect a growing relationship that adds an extra layer of warmth and meaning to the Boys Town community.

William shared his heartfelt appreciation, stating, "Sedric has done more for my family in 6 months than any of our previous case workers, sitters, or coordinators have ever done. I don’t know what I would have done without the support from Sedric."

As the family works through barriers with the Leon Public School System to get Wilhelmina enrolled at Gretchen Everhart School, they remain optimistic. The journey has been challenging, but with Sedric's steadfast support and the resilience of William and Wilhelmina, they have made significant strides.

Wilhemina’s story is a testament to the power of perseverance, advocacy, and unwavering support provided by Boys Town North Florida. It emphasizes the essential role that organizations like Boys Town play in helping families navigate challenging systems and achieve meaningful progress.