Behind the Autism Statistic – The Next Step to Our Story

“A coincidence is when God performs a miracle and decides to remain anonymous.” – Author Unknown

Returning home from having our son diagnosed with autism, we sat down and started searching the web for treatment options. Keep in mind this was before the “Autism Awareness” campaigns and the typical recommendation was to get him enrolled in the state’s Early Intervention program for some speech therapy, special education preschool classes, maybe some occupational therapy. It was the standard pat answers as far as we could see, but we hoped maybe there was more information outside of our glass bowl we now found ourselves in. We were still living in the same space and time, but now it felt like we were cut off from the rest of the world and there was nobody that we knew dealing with this.

My husband, being an engineer and though atypical, still needing the scientific approach kept coming back to the same answer: intensive behavioral intervention. It was, as far as we could tell, the only approach to treating autism that had some positive, measurable results, but my oh MY!

It was by for the most time and cost intensive!! But as a parent, if you’re told, “Hey look…your baby has an incurable disease that is progressive…there’s a chance that this treatment may help, but its going to cost a pretty penny…insurance won’t cover it, schools won’t provide it, but if you tackle this head on and early, you have a decent chance of improving his life”, are you going to say no? Or are you going to borrow and scrape and accept help from strangers and friends alike? We reasoned that we were investing his college education into it and if we were successful, we’d have a couple of decades to make it up 🙂 We stepped out on faith, hoping that there would eventually be some solid ground!

I’ve never doubted the hand of Grace in my life. The fingerprints of the Divine have always been the punctuation to the story of my life! This wasn’t any exception. How do I know? “Things” just fell into place! 😉

Our Early Intervention folks had tried to set us up with a couple of speech therapists, but they were having a hard time teaching him speech when they couldn’t get his attention. Seemed most of therapy time was spent having them chase him and try to get him to cooperate! We were becoming discouraged when we got a call from a new therapist who had just moved here from New York, was working with Early Intervention, and thought she may be able to help.

Enter Nancy. 🙂

Nancy and Robert

Nancy and Robert

Nancy was wonderful! She spent the first visit chasing him like all the rest had, but her ace in the hole was some experience with Behavioral Intervention.

Asking what he loved, I replied “Blue’s Clues” (side note: the original ones with Steve were THE BOMB!)

“What was that, like a show?” she asked.

Um, yeah. How could ANYONE not know Blue’s Clues? Giving her a tape, I said go home, watch a couple of episodes, and if she wanted his attention, THAT would be the trick.

The next day she walked in with a huge white plastic mailbox made to look like the “Mailbox” character on the show. He immediately followed her to his room and was cajoled into using his words so he could play with Mailbox.

BRILLIANT!! 🙂

And our first introduction to Behavior Modification was so successful that within a month he went from 30 words (at best) to 100. We were cautiously optimistic that maybe THIS would work for him.

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3 Responses

  1. Mom, this is such a great idea! A little tidbit every day; even though I was sort of there I check daily to see what happens next! You have such a talent for writing, I’ll need you to hurry up and become a famous novelist so everyone else can get on the bandwagon,too!

  2. […] about Special Education as of April 8, 2009 Behind the Autism Statistic – The Next Step to Our Story – fencepostings.wordpress.com 04/08/2009 “A coincidence is when God performs a miracle and […]

  3. in addition to all of that, we also decided that we signed up for this when we asked for the children….

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