Friday, March 15, 2013

Early Intervention

I was recently asked to write down Ty's story and our positive experience that we had with Early Invention and Kids on the Move so that they can use it to help other families, advocate for much needed funding and use it on their website. I thought that was pretty cool! This is what I sent them:

"When my son, Ty, was about 18 months old, my husband and I started noticing he might have some speech delays since he had zero words up to this point without any imitation or spontaneous speech. I started talking to some friends about it and “comparing” my son’s speech (or lack of) to other kids his age.  After about 2 weeks I came to conclusion that we needed help. My one friend recently had her daughter assessed with EI and gave me the info. I immediately called and soon had Ty set up for home visits since he was in the 6th percentile for speech. Up to this point I thought he was only delayed in speech and nothing else. He was a tricky kid but he was my first and so I didn’t know any better. From the day he was born he was a poor sleeper, not able to self soothe, and was difficult to console after about 1 year old or so. By the time he was 14 months old he was having melt downs 5-10 times a day, was a super frustrated little boy, unable to communicate what he wanted and would literally just RUN off the second his feet touched the ground. I thought he was just starting the Terrible Two’s early. To make matters even more complicated, Ty’s little brother, Levi, was born at that time as well so it soon became apparent that we needed help. Ty was not a “normal” little kid but the word autism never once entered my mind. I just thought we’d get speech and that would help with the tantrums and lack of communication.

Ty did really well with the Child Developmental Specialist, Cameron, that came once every two weeks and soon had a Speech Therapist, April, coming as well. He was thriving with them and making progress but still struggled in some areas such as eating and behavior. Soon we added an Occupational Therapist, Gary, as well to assist with the eating aspect since he was very sensitive to many foods, would only eat 10-15 types of food, extremely picky (Resistant Eater) and gagged extremely easy. All of these interventions helped immensely but I still felt Ty needed more social interaction to help with behavior. That is when he started with the Bridges Preschool program and since then progress has been phenomenal. We still struggle and have our hard days but all of these things combined was exactly what Ty and our family needed.

When he was 2 ½ years old and after being in Bridges Preschool for almost 3 months, we decided to have Ty tested for any Autism Spectrum Disorders. He ended up being diagnosed with PPD-NOS, or Persistent Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified. He qualified for that with his speech delays, social/behavior difficulties and hypersensitivity to oral input. I am so grateful for this diagnosis, as hard as it was at first, because this led to our acceptance into the Bridges ABA Therapy Program which is funded by a government grant (worth over $27,000/year). Ty now goes to his “school” 20 hours a week and is making wonderful progress. Our life compared to a year ago is ten times better- for our whole family and for him. I am so proud of his progress and how far he has come. He has and will continue to overcome huge challenges and I know there is absolutely no way he could have done that without Kids On The Move. I get emotional whenever I think about how much they have done for our family and about the individuals who have all worked so hard and genuinely care about Ty and helping him progress. Not only is Ty involved with the services I mentioned but he also goes to Courage Reins, a therapeutic horse riding center once a week. My husband and I have also participated in many different classes offered by KOTM, including Positive Discipline, Floor Time and autistic related classes as well. These have been beneficial for the entire family. It is also so wonderful to get to know other parents who are struggling and experiencing the exact same thing as you at the exact same time.

Looking back, it’s amazing how one thing lead to another to finally get Ty where he’s at today. I attribute it all to Kids on the Move and Early Intervention Services. When we started back in Feb. 2012 I had no idea I would become a very passionate Mom of an Autistic Spectrum child. Who knows when Ty would’ve gotten the diagnosis without services that started so young? Research shows the earlier the better for therapy and intervention and I’m grateful Ty was diagnosed at such an early, early age. Even though we still have our struggles, I am at peace each day knowing that Ty is getting exactly what he needs right now and that there is nothing more that I could be doing for him.

I know it is extremely difficult being a parent of a special needs child and that autistic kids bring their own individualized set of challenges. But there is help and interventions out there that make a world of difference. Facing the diagnosis- the actual words on paper that states that your child is not like all the others- is the hardest part. But with that piece of paper comes so many more opportunities and doors that can be opened. Ty is about to turn 3 years old and now has about 75 spontaneous words and can say and sign most of those, is putting together 3 word sentences, has about 0-2 meltdowns a day, enjoys quiet time while reading books or playing on the iPad, understands all directions given to him, has a love for all types of animals as well as Cars, trains, anything Disney, books, puzzles, and he smiles, laughs, hugs, and snuggles with those he loves. I have become very passionate about Early Intervention and the difference it makes. We are living proof of that."

1 comment:

Curtiss & Ginger said...

Oh I love this!! It's incredible to read your whole journey and see all the progress that has been made. I am so proud of Ty Ty!!!