Wednesday’s Child: 7-year-old Ptolemy has a beautiful mind and a big heart

Dec 6, 2023, 4:45 PM | Updated: Dec 10, 2023, 2:04 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — At any given moment there are hundreds of children in Utah living in foster care hoping to be adopted by a loving family.

In this week’s Wednesday’s Child in partnership with Raise the Future, we introduce you to 7-year-old Ptolemy, who has lived in foster care for almost three years.

“He is so animated, and he is just so charming,” said Brookelyn Moeller, a board-certified behavior analyst at Ptolemy’s school.

Ptolemy’s progress

When it comes to learning the process is different for everyone. For Ptolemy, learning a new skill or concept takes time and focus but the result is so rewarding.

“When he very first started, I did his initial assessment, he was completely nonverbal, he didn’t say anything the entire hour and a half he was with me. Now, he’s engaging in classroom activities, he’s speaking in full sentences, he’s really awesome,” said Moller.

Like many boys his age, Ptolemy loves loud toys, games, and music. But how he enjoys them is unique to him. Ptolemy is autistic.

“I think he is a kid who likes discovering, I think he’s a kid that enjoys being free, he’s a kid who is really sweet and affectionate,” said Ilsa Serrano, Ptolemy’s Youth Connections Advocate for Raise the Future.

Ptolemy has made big strides in his development this year with the help of a dedicated team. People like Moeller, and Serrano, who are consistent trustworthy figures in his life.

“Every child can understand when they can be themselves or their needs are met, and I think if he’s receiving attention, affection, consistent participation he feels he is being loved, and that’s enough for him, I think,” said Serrano. “Small moments like him wanting to be near you or giving you his hand and saying help – that in his way is communicating that he has built some type of trust.”

The kind of family Ptolemy needs

Serrano says since Ptolemy entered foster care there have been several families that have inquired about adopting him, but when they learn of his needs they’ve shied away.

“There is not a child that doesn’t deserve that care and attention, autism shouldn’t be a barrier to having a family and having permanent love,” said Serrano.

Serrano says what she hopes a potential family will see in Ptolemy is a young boy with a beautiful mind, a child who is seeking adventure.

“He would benefit from a household that would have him as a youngest kid or not have other children because of the attention that he needs,” said Serrano.

And what Moeller hopes the community will see is a child with great potential, who just needs love and support to reach it.

“Those moments where he grows, and he is learning and having so much fun so outweighs any hard days that he might have.”

To learn more about Ptolemy, visit his Raise the Future profile or contact Raise the Future at 801-265-0444.

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Wednesday’s Child: 7-year-old Ptolemy has a beautiful mind and a big heart