There is an old saying that it takes a village to raise a child. For a child with autism, it takes a very special kind of village. Autism is such a complicated, tricky path to navigate for both the kids and the parents who struggle to find the strategy that is the best choice for their individual child. This can be a very scary choice. It is so important to select the right type of therapy and the right providers that both push the child and make them comfortable at the same time. There is no road map that says go here and do this.
I am what I like to call a “VIP member” of the autism club. I have two children on the spectrum and one is a girl to boot. After my daughter, Kennedy, was diagnosed I wanted to do everything I could to give her the tools she needed to fulfill all of her wonderful potential. I decided I would give ABA a try, and so I checked around and visited a few places. The moment I walked into The Applied Behavior Center, I knew this would be where Kennedy could grow, learn and blossom. Everyone was so loving and excited to meet her. When I picked her up after her first day, she was bubbling over with happiness. The next morning when I asked if she was ready to go back to school, she grabbed her backpack and ran to the car yelling “YES!” before I could even get the door open. I knew then I had made the right decision.
Two years later and I am astounded every day at the progress she has made and continues to make. When my little guy Sawyer started to exhibit signs of also being on the spectrum, I didn’t hesitate to get a diagnosis and get him started at the center. He has been a whole different ball game. It is true- if you meet one person with autism; you’ve met one person with autism. He has different challenges than Kennedy, and he is so much more stubborn! There was a time when I wondered if he would ever be able to communicate with me. I clearly remember the day when a crowd of therapists came to the car at pickup and Sawyer’s sweet little voice said, “go.” We all shared in the excitement and I could tell that the staff genuinely cares about the kids. There are tears in my eyes as I’m writing this. Knowing that my kids are going somewhere they are loved and nurtured, and are able to work through and overcome some of their challenges is an indescribable feeling. It’s priceless.
The smiles on their faces when the therapists come out in the morning speaks volumes, and everyday Kennedy goes through the list of therapists that she loves on the way home. Half way home and she is still rattling off names. I am not sure I can ever find the words to express how truly thankful I am for the impact the center has had on both my children, and myself. -Beth