Nate and Ethan: The story of twin on the Spectrum

‘As I stare at this blank page on my computer screen and think about what I want to say about how the Applied Behavior Center has affected my family, I can’t imagine how I will ever get words to accurately reflect the depth of my gratitude for the work they do.

My now ten year old twin sons have been attending ABC for five years. We have all heard the saying, “If you meet a child with autism you have met one child with autism,” those words could not be truer for us. Genetically they are twins but the way autism has affected them and the challenges it creates for each could not be more unique.

Between the two boys we have dealt with aggression, disruptive stemming behaviors, elopement (also known as running away), safety in public settings, toilet training issues, grooming problems, general compliance, on and on the list goes. If there is an “undesirable behavior” on the spectrum we have probably seen it at some point. As these challenges come and go in our everyday lives, our program coordinator, therapist and team leaders have been right there to help us develop and implement a plan.

That’s really what stands out about ABC. I know there are centers all over the state that practice behavior therapy and they are probably filled with caring and dedicated professionals; but I can’t imagine any place having a team like ABC North. I never thought I would find a place where I would be okay sending my boys for a majority of their day - people whom I would trust enough to relinquish some of my control. But that is exactly what has happened. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that every day my children are surrounded by people who love and care for them and that want exactly what I want, which is for my boys to reach their full potential.

As an autism Mom, there are days I feel like a complete failure. Maybe we are running late or wearing clothes that don’t match or I am dropping the kids off and it’s obvious I haven’t even brushed my hair yet and I’m feeling frazzled beyond redemption before my day has ever actually begun, yet the team leaders are at the front desk with a smile and a laugh to help me see the humor in our chaos. They reassure me that the day is not ruined and that concessions can and will be made to get everyone back on track.

Then there are those program coordinators, those tenacious fighters who spend countless hours collecting data, writing programs, and most importantly fighting insurance companies to make sure that the kiddos are getting every hour of services possible and that everyone one of those hours counts and enriches their lives.

And the people in the trenches, the therapists, who show up every day and, with endless patience and kindness, who work with their patients. I know ours have been pinched and hit and scratched and tackled and LOVED. I know without a doubt in my heart that my boys love their therapist. Even if they can’t express it, I know they feel the level of commitment that the therapists have to them and they appreciate them as much as I do, even if they never master the words and actions to show it.

written by Carrie S. (mother to Ethan and Nate)

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