Isaac’s Autism Journey
By: Krista Schultz (Isaac’s Mother)
Isaac was 4 when he started attending The Applied Behavior Center for Autism. It was somewhat hard sending our little guy off for 8 hours a day, but from day 1, everyone at ABC was so wonderful in making us feel like Isaac was safe and secure and being well cared for.
The changes in Isaac these last 2 years have been phenomenal. His speech and communication have increased dramatically. I can ask him questions about his day and he can answer me. When he talks about his friends at the center, he is referring to clients and therapists both!
When we go in public places now, he says hi to people and asks their names. He asks people to play with him and works very hard to interact with those around him. These are things Isaac always wanted to do, but didn't have the skills to do prior to ABC. To see him doing it now and bringing him such pleasure is heartwarming to us.
One of Isaac's biggest and hardest struggles has always been eating. Food was incredibly stressful to him and everyday eating was a huge battle. At the age of 5, he was only eating baby foods and other purees such as pudding, yogurt and applesauce. In all honesty, we thought Isaac may never eat solid food. When they started the food program at ABC, they were giving us daily feedback about his progress. It was unbelievable that this kid was putting these foods to his mouth and even taking bites of them.
The day the Team Leader and Behavior Analyst came to our home to introduce the program here, Isaac sat down at our table and I watched him take bites and eat a banana. I can't even put into words how this felt. We have continued to build on the program and I can proudly say that our guy no longer eats baby food. He eats real food at every meal and we even go to restaurants now and he will eat! This would never have happened a year ago. I won't say we don't ever struggle with eating, but to look at where we were 12 months ago and where we are now, in our eyes is nothing short of a miracle.
Another big step we are now taking is starting kindergarten. Isaac attended preschool 3 mornings a week last school session at our church and his therapist attended with him. He did extremely well. The other kids were very accepting of him and included him and he participated in all activities that they did. To see him in his cap and gown on graduation day in the sanctuary clapping his hands and singing the songs with the other kids---we couldn't be any more proud!
These things and so many others have been made possible for our Isaac by the hard work and dedication of the ABC staff. It's hard to put into words what they have brought to our lives. Every day, they make a difference. It is so obvious how much these folks care about our kids and I hope they know how important they are to us and all those they are helping.
When Isaac does something he is proud of, he can't wait to share it with his therapists. They aren't just staff members to us, they are family. They came into our lives at a time when we so needed them and we look so forward to seeing what the future holds for our Isaac. We are so grateful and so proud to be a part of the ABC family.
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