Six-year-old Coleman Verburg of Lehi, Utah, and his three-year-old brother, Cooper, are best friends, even though the two had a rocky start. When Coleman was just two years old, he accidentally knocked his newborn brother out of his baby bouncer on Cooper’s second day home from the hospital.
But things have changed a lot since then.
“Coleman is very patient with his brother,” his mom says. “He is a good example because he shares his toys so freely. Cooper loves his big brother. Coleman is his hero.”
A Unique Challenge
One of the reasons why Cooper loves his brother so much is because Coleman is often able to talk to him more easily than he is able to talk to others. Coleman has a condition called autism, which sometimes makes it difficult for him to communicate with other people.
Some children with autism cannot speak at all. Although Coleman can speak, he has had to work hard to learn how to share his feelings with others.
A Special Boy
Coleman has a loving nature and wants to meet lots of boys and girls. Even though it is sometimes hard for him, he wants to be friends with all the children he meets. When he goes to the park, Coleman often looks for children to play with and says hi to them. He makes a lot of friends that way.
He likes to do many of the same things other kids do. He especially likes to draw. He first started drawing happy and sad faces when he was two years old. This helped him share his feelings before he was able to do so with words. Coleman also likes to play baseball and practice karate.
Learning in Primary
Coleman enjoys going to Primary. Because he loves the music so much, he has started to learn the words to Primary songs. Even though he used to not sing in Primary, singing is now his favorite thing to do at church. He especially likes to sing “Do As I’m Doing” (Children’s Songbook, 276).
Remembering Family Home Evening
Coleman does a good job of reminding his parents when it is time for family home evening. At one recent family home evening, Coleman, his brother, and his mom and dad each took turns sharing things they liked about one another.
Coleman liked saying nice words about his family. When nice things were being said about him, he couldn’t hide his big smile. It made him feel good to hear his family say kind words about him.
Praying for Help
Sometimes Coleman gets scared by shadows or noises when he’s in bed at night. But he knows that he can always have help when he prays for it. “Heavenly Father helps me feel better,” Coleman says.
A Good Example
Coleman does a good job at being an example to people he meets. By being nice to his brother, saying kind words to his family, making friends at the playground, and overcoming his challenges, Coleman has already become a good example to many.
One of his grandmothers is from Thailand. He loves the spicy Thai food she cooks.
He likes dinosaurs and enjoys visiting the dinosaur museum near his home.
He is good at math and loves to read every night.
He loves to vacation at the beach in South Carolina.
Following a schedule is important to Coleman. He likes to eat, go to school, play, watch TV, draw, and do other things in the same way each day.
Photographs by Chad E. Phares