“Shark attack!” inspires #GivingTuesday campaign

Beckett Murray loves taking his shoes off and running around barefoot. Staff at the autism center he attends asked his mom to bring in some slippers, to keep his toes warm. She brought in his favorite pair, plush gray shark slippers, with a gaping red, toothy mouth.

Soon after, the shark attacks began.

Whenever staff spotted Beckett, they’d playfully call out, “Shark attack!” and Beckett would pounce with his slippers.

“That connection he had with all the people, the staff, that was a major connection for him,” said his adoptive mom, Cathy Murray.

Beckett’s personality and his nickname, “Shark Attack Guy,” inspired this year’s #GivingTuesday campaign for LOGAN. Money raised will go to the LOGAN Autism Learning Center – Southwest Michigan, “a second home” to Beckett according to his mom. Donors who live in Indiana may designate their gift to go to LOGAN’s Sonya Ansari Center for Autism in South Bend.

Autism diagnosis leads to LOGAN

Beckett was diagnosed with autism when he was 2-years-old. It took another year before he qualified for services. His mom was referred to LOGAN Autism Learning Center – Southwest Michigan.

Cathy, a single mom with three adopted children and three foster children, knew immediately she had found the right place for Beckett. “They’re miracle workers,” she said of the staff. “He wouldn’t be the kid he is today without them.”

Before coming to LOGAN, Beckett was pretty shy, his mom said. He didn’t talk much, and he definitely didn’t pounce.

“In just three years, he made amazing success and growth,” said Kristin Wier, clinical site director for the center. He did so well, he entered kindergarten this past fall.

“He is thriving. He’s making friends. He’s being successful and participates independently in all activities and classes,” Kristin said. “His family is so very proud of him. His LOGAN family is so proud and excited about his success, too.”

“I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

The key for Beckett, now 6-years-old, and for each of the 60-plus children who attend the learning center, is LOGAN’s focus on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. Each child gets hours of individual attention from a trained behavior technician.

“He’s now a talkative, social and academically successful kiddo!!” Kristin said.

“They strengthened areas that were weakened,” Cathy added. “I don’t know how they do it. They have such a big heart. Someone being there for you and your child is, like, priceless. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”