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Sofie never slept well, had major tantrums, never spoke properly, and hated clothes. I had never heard of autism and no one said she may be autistic. When Sofie was 5, her father died. She had just started school, so for years her behavior was put down to his death...
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Jake is an energetic, funny and loving 6-year-old boy. From the moment he was put in my arms, I knew something was different. For the first year of his life, I kept asking friends, family and doctors if he seemed alright. Because Jake is my fourth child, I knew in my heart that there was something unique about him.
When he was 18 months, my husband and I decided to have him evaluated by our local Early Intervention Services. The evaluation was unsettling at best. We found that he was developmentally delayed in ALL areas. At 18 months he was more like a 6 month old. We started Speech and Developmental therapy right away. At the age of 2, Jake began taking Occupational therapy and ABA therapy. Jake was progressing but my gut told me he might be Autistic. When Jake was 2 1/2 we received his official diagnosis; moderate to severe Autism Spectrum Disorder, Developmental delay and Sensory Processing Disorder. Our world changed.
Even though I felt some relief knowing I hadn't caused his delays, I was still scared. I was worried. I wanted to do all that I could to help him. Everything I read told me early intervention was key. By the time Jake was 3, he was receiving 15-20 hours of therapy a week. I was driving all over the place to get him the help he needed. I was doing my best to learn as much as I could so I could help him outside of therapy.
Today Jake is in a typical kindergarten class, with the help of an aide. We still have a lot of work to do but the progress we have seen over the past 4 years is simply amazing!
There has always been hope. We will continue to have hope because with the right tools and a strong support system we know, anything is possible!!
Jake is an individual with Autism. Autism does not define Jake. Autism is a part of who my son is but if you look closely you will see that there is so much more!!
Laurie Dickan, Collierville, TN