I have talked a little about Jake’s therapists and teachers. I have told you how great they are, how they work so diligently to help Jake…to help me. Without early intervention Jake would not be where he is today. Early intervention is the foundation, it helps mold a child from an early age and gives them something to build on as they grow.
Since we first started this journey we have been blessed with some really awesome therapists. I remember the first meeting I had with our case worker from the TN Early Intervention Services (who was a God send) and she told me about a company that was just starting out. She wanted me to use them for Jake’s therapies. I was unsure, I wanted the best. My case worker told me that they were the best so I trusted her. Come to find out a few months later they were in fact the best fit for Jake and for me. I loved having these ladies come in to my home, work with Jake as well as give me advice. If it was a bad day they would work with Jake and tell me how to help turn the bad day around. The owner of the ‘new’ company would listen to my concerns and give me suggestions. She led me, told me her thoughts, she held my hand and gave me the courage to stand up and trust my own instincts. After a short time I knew Jake needed more help so we added ABA (behavioral therapy). Again I was scared, I wanted the best. I remember our first meeting with the BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) at an autism treatment center, she seemed nice, she asked me questions; I was unsure and scared. I remember telling her that Jake didn’t like to be touched by people he didn’t know; as I was saying this another therapist who was playing with Jake picked him up, sat him on her lap and helped him into a ball pit. I started to cry, I couldn’t believe he let a stranger pick him up! I knew this would be a good fit. Who knew the BCBA that I was meeting with would become one of my biggest supporters and a good friend. These two therapist’s, who I now consider friends, gave me advice. They helped me, encouraged me, loved Jake, worked with Jake but most of all they showed me that I too could help Jake. At the time neither of these ladies knew the other, but they were saying the same things to me, offering similar advice. They saw something in me that I couldn’t see in myself — determination. I remember both of them saying to me on multiple occasions…you are Jake’s mom, trust yourself and give yourself some of the credit for his progression. These ladies not only gave Jake the early help that he needed but they helped me as well. They showed me how to stand up and advocate for what my kid needs.
In February 2012 Jake started preschool, again I was terrified. I called the teacher that would have Jake in her special needs preschool class, I talked to her at great length and she calmed my nerves. I remember thinking this is going to be the perfect fit for Jake (and me). Right before Jake was to have his first day of school we had a team IEP (individual education plan) meeting to set up the goals we wanted for Jake. John and I went and met Jake’s team (teacher’s and therapist’s) and the meeting went better than we expected. We felt respected and our fears were eased. We were all in agreement with what Jake needed but more than that, you could see on their faces that they truly loved what they were doing. Jake’s teacher has worked so hard with him, she’s always available to answer any question I have had and has helped me as much as she has helped Jake. We have been blessed with an excellent teacher, aides and therapists. For the first time since Jake has been in school he has had a few really good weeks. Let me rephrase this…these weeks have been AWESOME!!! He is listening better, following directions, he is talking, requesting his wants, using his words more and more to share his feelings. Jake has done so well he has earned a treasure from the treasure box (first time ever). Jake is learning, growing and meeting goals that 2 years ago I thought seemed impossible. Jake is writing his name, cutting with scissors, painting, playing with play dough, and playing with peers all with minimal help from his teachers. Wow is all I can say…it isn’t that I didn’t believe he would ever be able to do these things. But WOW — it is all clicking and coming together!!
To say we have been blessed with the best therapists and teachers is an understatement. They have all loved Jake, loved me and worked hard to help Jake succeed! I know we would not be seeing all of this progression without their knowledge, their dedication and their love for my kid. Since the beginning of this journey everything I have heard and read says early intervention is key. Start as early as possible, work as hard as you possibly can and you will see the results. Results we are seeing now, nearly 4 years later!
A treatment method or an educational method that will work for one child may not work for another child. The one common denominator for all the young children is that early intervention does work and it seems to improve the prognosis. Temple Grandin