Doug Stinson’s parents knew before the Damar Prom that they had made the right decision in bringing Doug to Damar. After all, the 17-year-old had blossomed quickly under Damar’s care, entering campus residential services in February and moving to the Transitional Living Unit in April. His behavior had improved, and he seemed to be happier. In some ways, he seemed like a different young man.
But the Stinsons’ appreciation of Damar’s impact took on a more emotional aspect when Mom saw a photo of Doug at the prom. Wearing a snazzy suit and red tie, Doug was pictured with three young women from Cathedral High School. Sitting at a table, they all had their arms around each other’s shoulders, comfortable and chummy, grinning like old friends.
The sight brought a tear to Doug’s mother’s eye.
Diagnosed with ADHD, mild cognitive disability and autism spectrum disorder, Doug is an outgoing and social young man who enjoys video games, riding tractors and watching his dad ride his motorcycle. Doug also enjoys mowing the grass, and he hopes one day to have his own home with his own yard to mow.
Like so many parents, Doug’s mom and dad were nervous about bringing Doug to Damar simply because they felt it was an admission that they had in some way failed. But the progress Doug has made – and the sight of him so happy – has swept those fears aside.
As for Doug, he says the prom was fantastic. He liked meeting the girls and riding in a limo, he enjoyed the dinner, and had fun dancing. And he especially liked his suit with the red tie, because red is his favorite color. In fact, he liked it so much that he wore the same suit again a few weeks later when he attended the prom at his former school with his girlfriend, Stephanie.
You can bet Mom’s got a few pictures of that evening, as well.