Special needs student graduates high school, despite several challenges

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — “He’s a big kid, he’s really good-looking. He’s got a great smile, he’s got beautiful eyes. He’s now getting to be where he’s pretty charming,” said Theresa Jordan.

Jordan is talking about her son, Trenton Orr.

But even with his charm, she says raising him was rough.

“He has a lot of behavior issues, he gets frustrated a lot because he can’t talk, he can’t see,” Jordan said.

Orr has autism. He’s also blind and non-verbal.

But those who work with him at Joey’s Place say they’re just diagnoses.

“He is able to communicate through nonverbal body language, his gestures. He knows his environment very well. He’s able to direct the staff instead of the staff directing him,” said Dionna Lanich, Joey’s Place Coordinator.

The habilitation program through Special Kids Special Families works with adults with special needs.

Orr attended Joey’s Place for three years as part of a transitions program from District 49.

Jordan says without it, her 20-year-old son wouldn’t be where he is now.

“He has learned how to carry his own items to the kitchen. He’s able to heat up lunch, hand over hand, he’s able to join in with the group without wanting to leave. He’s done a lot,” Lanich said.

Orr graduated with honors from Falcon High School.

Clients of Joey’s Place work on a number of goals from social skills, independence and more.

They accept adults as young as 18 and there is no age limit after that.

Their oldest client now is 85 years old.

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