Charlie’s Journey: Finding Hope at ABC
By Cheri R. (mother of a child with Autism)
“Charlie was a chubby, happy little baby who loved to play and smile but at 18 months old, he still had zero verbal skills. He could laugh and make animal noises but could not speak. Watching closely, we began to notice other issues with Charlie. He never responded to his name, never asked for things, and had issues with eating. As any mom would do, I enlisted professional help.
After a year of speech and occupational therapy, Charlie continued to make very little progress. In time, both of his therapists recommended that we get him evaluated for Autism. As a mother, I was frightened and unsure of what the future would hold for my little Charlie.
Our lives changed forever in January 2012 when we heard three little words: “Charlie has Autism.”
Thankfully, we had amazing resources and friends who gave us great advice: educate yourself, research everything, and ask questions. After extensive research, our decision was clear. We needed to get Charlie into an ABA Center.
We looked at several options in the Carmel area and I literally cried walking out of the first center we toured. Then we went to The Applied Behavior Center for Autism, and had a much better experience. I personally felt like the ABC understood my concerns with having such a young son and trusting him to someone for 40 hours a week.
Charlie started at ABC in March 2013. The therapists at the Early Childhood Center were so kind and loving and Charlie truly grew to care about them. Within 6 months, he was starting to use language and was responding to his name. He was also able to tell us a simple YES or NO to things he did or did not want. We were thrilled.
Last November, we transferred over the new Carmel location. The staff is an absolute dream to work with. They are patient and nurturing to both Charlie and our family. Our son has blossomed since he has been there.
His language has exploded so quickly over the past six month. He now has 3-5 word phrases, my personal favorite being “I Love You Mama,” and he can respond when spoken to. He will point to things he wants us to look at and exclaim, “Look mama, a duck! See it?”
Another miracle that ABC was able to help us with was potty training. Again, the staff went out of their way to make sure that we understood the program and our role in it. They also helped us to implement the program at home. When we hit a road bump, the staff created a custom “Potty book” starring the Potty Monkey and Charlie. It was very personal and very cute. Charlie potty trained in about 2 weeks.
Another huge hurdle for Charlie was getting his hair cut. It was Charlie’s own personal form of torture and mine as well. ABC was able to desensitize all of Charlie’s triggers related to that experience and at his last haircut, not one tear was shed or one cry uttered.
We are so thankful and appreciative of all the little things that ABC does for Charlie. His verbal skills and language have been nothing short of a miracle and the personal care we receive is wonderful. From always remembering his favorite blue blanket, to using animals in his program to the various seasonal events, ABC truly makes Charlie and our family feel cared for.”
Find hope for your child today. Call us at 317-849-KIDS ext. 112 or visit us online at www.appliedbehaviorcenter.org.