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Early Childhood Resource Center helps Zakaree access support services

Zakaree: Uniquely Wonderful

Early Childhood Resource Center team member Kelley Moffett was a SPARK parent partner when she first met Zakaree and his family during their initial in-home lesson. She knew right away that Zakaree was an exceptional little boy.

Zakaree told Kelley that he liked watermelon—and then he spelled the word. He followed that up by saying, “Grandpa says I need to be quiet,” and then he spelled quiet as well. He was 3 years old. 

Kelley was amazed by Zakaree’s unique abilities, which manifested in other ways too. Zakaree taught himself new languages by watching YouTube videos, recited the alphabet in Mandarin, and could write down the names of stores and restaurants he visited. In preschool, Zakaree preferred playing by himself and had a strong need for things to be done exactly the same way every time. At home, he insisted that every SPARK lesson followed the same structure, starting with writing in his SPARK journal.

Zakaree’s grandparents, who assumed guardianship of Zakaree and his siblings after their mother passed away, also noted their grandson’s distinct abilities. Like Kelley, they knew that understanding and tapping into Zakaree’s uniqueness would be critical to his success.

As a SPARK parent partner and a passionate advocate of school readiness, Kelley used her training and access to community resources to connect the family with a provider who assessed Zakaree and diagnosed him with autism. Kelley was by the family’s side at every appointment. Once Zakaree was diagnosed, Kelley guided the family through the process of pursuing an individualized education plan (IEP) through their school district, to help ensure appropriate supports would be in place in the classroom.

Since Zakaree started kindergarten in Fall 2023, he’s moved from spelling words to reading at a second-grade level, and he’s even made some friends. He’s teaching himself cursive writing, and he’s been learning a lot about cars, as well. All in all, this unique little boy is off to a uniquely wonderful start—thanks, in part, to his participation in SPARK.

To help a child like Zakaree on their journey to educational success, click here to make a gift and select Early Childhood Resource Center in the Designation option.