Fourteen-year-old Rebekkah is normally bubbly, talkative and outgoing. But sitting at a table at the As You Wish pottery painting studio in Chandler, the teen is quiet as a church mouse and focused as a surgeon as she works.
With the help of instructor Liz Geoghan, Rebekkah paints a giraffe as part of the decoration.
Rebekkah, it turns out, has a thing for giraffes.
Rebekkah – Becky to her friends – had a chance to feed a giraffe during a recent visit to the Phoenix Zoo and giraffes have since replaced penguins as the focus of her fascination, says James Schlemmer, a youth advocate with Christian Family Care.
Becky, who has mild cognitive delays, was thrilled to get a stuffed pink giraffe for Christmas, Schlemmer says.
But, she still loves penguins.
Mostly, though, Becky is a people person, says Schlemmer.
“She loves to engage with people,” he says. “Friends are very important to her.”
Becky’s favorite class is PE because it gives her a chance to socialize.
Becky is in eighth grade and looking forward to high school, Schlemmer says.
“She is really thriving in school,” he says, noting that her academic performance has improved significantly over the past two years.
At home, Becky “likes to draw – that’s her favorite thing,” Schlemmer says.
Her art is often a display of her sense of humor, Schlemmer adds.
“She might draw a penguin, but put a giraffe’s head on it,” he says.
Becky would do well in a forever family with one parent or one with two parents.
“The key for her is structure,” Schlemmer says. “She thrives when she knows what to expect.”
Becky “connects with younger children easily” and would do well in a family in which she has siblings, Schlemmer says.
For more information about Rebekkah, please contact AASK at (602) 930-4900 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.