Joseph Titus

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Diane and Bob Titus had planned to name their son Paul. But Diane’s first look at her newborn firstborn changed that. “He just didn’t look like a Paul,” she says with equal parts certainty and wonderment, “so we called him Joseph John…after both grandfathers.” It was perhaps the first indication that the life they’d envisioned would bear little resemblance to the reality about to unfold. For one thing, despite all the thought given to his name, Joseph John didn’t seem to recognize it. He ...

David Maas

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David moved to Closter Intermediary Care Facility at Spectrum for Living more than fifteen years ago. A few years later, David transferred to the Highwood group home wanting to experience a more independent lifestyle.  He attended the Westwood Adult Training Center (ATC) day program, and eventually moved to the Hackensack/Teaneck ATC program. He is an enthusiastic participant in any project at the center. He loves to paint, decorate the bulletin board, and of course listen to music. He is ...

Randy Neuman

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Randy joined the Spectrum for Living family in 1999. Randy originally came to the Closter Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) from residing at home with her mother. There are no obstacles that get in her way. Randy, even in a wheelchair, doesn’t let that get in her way of enjoying parasailing, horseback riding and many other interests. While in the Closter ICF, Randy learned many independent living skills. She met with a job coach who assisted her in finding an appropriate job within the ...

Ariel Shiner

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In this day of corporate downsizing, upward mobility and nimble job-hopping, a 28-year career with one company is an increasingly uncommon commodity. It takes an employer who values dedication and loyalty and an employee whose contributions are needed and valued. Even more uncommon than most is a combination like the Wawa Food Markets and Ariel Shiner. Because here something else accompanies the dedication and the value. It’s known as autism. It wasn’t known as that—or at least not very ...

The Smetona Twins

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Student Michael Smetona likes using a computer and playing sports. His twin sister, Megan, enjoys reading and art. At The Bancroft School, each has gotten to focus on his/her individual interests and abilities — preparing the 21-year-olds for their own, unique paths after graduation. “Bancroft has been able to tap into their particular talents and give them what they needed,” says mom Betsey Smetona. For instance, staff members have capitalized on Michael’s computer interest by ...

Rev. Richard Cromwell

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For the Rev. Richard Cromwell, words are the tools of his trade. So when a stroke last year robbed the Episcopal priest and substance-abuse counselor of his language skills, he turned to Bancroft for help. Now, Cromwell is back in the pulpit, as well as assisting people with addictions. I was able to learn how to express myself again,” says the 61-year-old, who received outpatient rehab last spring from Bancroft Brain Injury Services in Plainsboro, N.J. “Bancroft has made it possible to ...

Dalton Hanna

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Small miracles occur every day at Bancroft. But Steve and Karen Hanna credit Bancroft with something huge:enabling them to keep their son. “Bancroft was the reason we adopted Dalton,”says Steve Hanna,referring to his 6-year-old son with autism. “Emotionally,we wanted to adopt him,” recalls Steve, “but we needed to know what we were getting into; we had to think about ourselves and the other kids.” Steve and his wife,Karen,had taken Dalton at just six weeks old,as one of about 30 ...

Armando Feliciano

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When Armando Feliciano came to Bancroft, he hardly talked. The seven-year-old had difficulty dressing, eating and using the bathroom without assistance. Frustrated by his autism, he would slam toys and throw himself on the floor crying — once even hurling a play chair through his family’s big-screen TV. But after just seven months in Bancroft’s Elementary Autism Program, the Williamstown boy speaks more than 100 words. He feeds himself, dresses and showers on his own, and uses the toilet ...

Bob Pignataro

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After being thrown from his car in 1990, Bob Pignataro experienced a severe brain injury that resulted in personality changes, disturbances in thinking and loss of memory and inhibitions. When he awoke from a five-week coma he transitioned to an acute rehabilitation facility, where he worked with therapists to resolve the more visible effects of his acquired brain injury (ABI) like his speech and mobility. The most severe repercussions of his injury, however, proved to be the disturbances to ...