Autism: Therapy Begins  

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Follow a story of a family whose little boy was diagnosed on the autism spectrum and the steps they took to overcome this diagnosis.

This story is a personal one and should not be taken for any medical advice. This is simply parental advice. If you are questioning the behavior your child is exhibiting please talk to a medical professional to attain a diagnosis through an evaluation.

 

By Becky Horace

 

The evaluation is complete, we have a plan and now it’s time to implement the plan. During our first week of therapy, our doctor decided he wanted to work with our son alone. The staff, doctor, our son and the other children at the institute played and had a great time during our first week while I nervously waited in the waiting room. The reason I was sent away was because our son considers the doctor an authority figure and responds well to him unless I am in the room. When I show up all hell breaks loose and none of the objectives are met. It’s pretty hard to sit in the waiting room, when you are so nervous about our child. You can’t help but think about what he is doing, how the doctor will “fix” this problem, and a million other things are running through your mind during this time. After the first week of therapy, his doctor decided for the next week they will do two days together and the rest of the week I am able to participate in the therapy. I can’t be too upset, this is what I signed up for; “whatever it takes” and if that means not participating or watching what is going on when I want to then so be it.

Our typical day at the beginning of this therapy plan was heading to the institute in the morning and working with the staff for two hours. We would then head home, my son would have lunch and nap and then when he was awake we would work the rest of the day together until his bedtime on his therapy plan. It was exhausting. There were no play dates with friends, no mommy time for me to do anything for myself or to even make new friends, but I can’t complain too much because by the end of the week my son had made huge progress. He was taking my hand, saying the word “mom” and showing me what he was needing help with instead of simply screaming. What a massive improvement. In addition to actually knowing how to communicate a need he has to me, he has started to play little games. This might not seem like a big deal but when your child wasn’t making any eye contact before the evaluation and therapy and now wants to high five and looks to me to respond; it’s huge! He can also say “dog” when asking to see the dogs at the institute, he waves goodbye and blows kisses, he pointed to a tree and said the word “tree”, when he wants a snack or to watch a cartoon movie he will bring it to me and say “please”, and during his play time he is babbling more than ever before. With all of that change and improvement there is no way that I can complain about not being in the therapy room with him every minute of his sessions.

Although every child is different in their therapy journey, his doctor explained to me that what my son had accomplished after one week he normally doesn’t see until after four weeks of therapy. Due to this rapid pace, he decided he will be revamping my son’s developmental objectives and stepping it up for next next week.

 

Tips from the mom

  • Contain your excitement: I was pretty pumped to see my son doing so well after the first week but I wish I had known that later on down the line there was going to be the inevitable stall in progress. I would recommend you prepare yourself mentally for that.  This isn’t because the therapy isn’t working. More than likely your child is developing in another area and they are focusing their efforts on one area and others might stay stagnant for a short while.
  • Buckle up: This process is a long one and you are in it for the long haul so buckle up and enjoy the ride and celebrate every little win!

 

This will be an ongoing series of articles of our story through an evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and the end results during our son’s last two years of therapy. I will share with you from a parent’s perspective what we have learned and in layman’s terms explain our son’s diagnosis and the type of therapy used to help him succeed.

I hope you enjoy this read and please know no matter how bleak it may seem you are not alone when you are going through this. Parents around the world are in your same shoes looking for support and love; you just have to be open to talk about it. 

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