From Diagnosis to ABA Therapy
January – 5 months after Kyson turned 3, we took him in for his wellness check-up and prior to even going in, I had a few conversations with a dear friend on the possibilities of him having autism. You see, my husband and I are both introverts and we just assumed he was quiet and avoided people because he inherited it. I also had friend on Facebook whose son was nearly a year younger, posting up signs that she encountered and well, I didn’t want to face it, but Kyson was being described by her in each post.
After the initial check-up, I questioned the nurse practitioner about his inability to talk and we both agreed it may be because of the bilingual upbringing. His pickiness when it came to certain foods, especially not liking any meat was probably because most kids are picky eaters. They recommended waiting a few months and if Kyson didn’t start talking then we can call and would get referred to a Speech Pathologist. He checked out fine on growth and weight so we left it at that.
After that day, for a week straight I researched on all signs and symptoms, took every online test there was out there just to see. Yes, they all said Kyson was identifiable with having Autism Spectrum Disorder, but again you have hope because it is off a very large spectrum. I took it upon myself, I called out his name and he did not move, no acknowledgement of even knowing I was calling out for him. I call his name again and he continues to play clueless. I call the clinic, tell them my concerns, I tell the receptionist I think my son has Autism. She asked why I believed that and my answer…he doesn’t know his name and there is no eye contact. I freaked out a bit, I just wanted to help him!
- Recommendation put in to place.
February – More research online, I reach out to the school district hoping I could get some something going while we wait. We are set up to meet the Speech Pathologist first, he would be the one to see the sign and symptoms and would recommend us to another for the initial screening and diagnosis. 30 minutes with him and confirms something I already knew, but was hoping for a sign it wasn’t. Kyson was still in diapers, Speech Pathologist confirms sometimes it’s longer for boys, his boy grandchildren about Kyson’s age were still in diapers too.
Two weeks later we come back to the same place for the screening, but with another specialist. The process was a nightmare, in a little room running different test of just playing with toys and trying to have a conversation, but the closing of that door to the room and him not having access to run away was plenty for them to see. Favorite snacks brought along didn’t seem to work as he just wanted out. Finally, a week later we go meet again and get the final diagnosis. Like any other parent, hearing any type of diagnosed to your child, even though in my heart I knew, hearing the actual confirmation was devastating. I don’t think I’ve ever been that silent for so long, tears held back to ask where we go from here. No help right now, but we were put you on the waiting list.
- Apply for Children’s Long-Term Support Program.
- Apply for Katie Beckett.
March – I reached out to another company who specializes in ABA therapy, I knew I had to get in as soon as possible to start helping me reach Kyson. To get therapy started with this place, we would have to go through yet another screening. This screening wasn’t too bad. Maybe because of the many years this doctor has worked in this field. He didn’t do as much testing as the other place, just a few questions here and there. Another diagnosis made, same one, but now we will wait while they find a team to get us going.
School district calls, Speech Therapist comes visit, Occupational Therapist visits, Psychiatrist visits, and then we coordinate to meet to do the very first IEP meeting. Kyson gets enrolled in early childhood classes. A half day class for 3-year-olds, Monday through Thursday. He starts in April, a good thing now from the 2 weeks prior that school made contact, Kyson now was potty-trained. (That’s a whole other story on this success)
April – school begins and Kyson enjoys seeing the bus come. The very first day my heart broke as I let him go because this would be the first time he was going to be anywhere by himself without family. Worried all day, all week. His teacher finds he works well with visuals. 4 weeks go by like nothing, schools done and we take on summer
May – meet consultant for Katie Beckett, home-visit screen, application goes in. No time given, but you just wait for a letter. Meet with consultant from the County for CLTS, another home-visit screen, application turned in. This program however, the last person to get off the waiting list was on it for almost 2 years. We continue to call the clinic to see if they found a team yet for therapy, hope to start in the fall.
June – Katie Beckett Program letter came in, we are approved. Medicaid starts and we call again to see how the clinic team is coming along. We were told that it’s hopeful to start in the Fall when school begins. We were hopeful too.
July – Enjoyed the summer with an epic first dental visit. Didn’t go bad, but horrifying. Not for us, but for Kyson as we were in another closed off room.
August – preparing to go back to school, Kyson turns 4, continue to call clinic same reply.
September – School begins, new school, new teacher. Teacher says the first week was hard on him, but transitioned well into the schedule. Kyson’s a very visual learner. His room is filled with visuals on what is next on the schedule. There’s timers set everywhere, he scores very well in the project folders they have him do with identifying and matching and continuously grows so fast they make up new projects for him to keep him on task. He visits the regular preschool room daily to build social skills. It’s now fall, call clinic, confirmed a meet and greet visit with senior staff and lead.
October – sessions of ABA therapy is here!