“Small steps. It will happen.”: Q&A with a JDN Center Parent
Yet we never realized just how emotionally charging it can be when we see our children make such great progress: including Austin.
Austin started up with us last fall and we chatted with his mom Diana about where he started and where he is today. Better yet, we have a video highlighting Austin’s (scroll to bottom):
Here’s our chat with Diana:
JDN: Your child, Austin, was diagnosed with Autism. How old is he now, and at what age was he diagnosed?
DIANA: My pleasure to speak with you. Austin was 4 in March, and he was diagnosed last Spring.
JDN: What previous support and/or treatment did you get before going to the JDN Center for Children?
DIANA: Because he was not communicating verbally, we took him to a Speech Pathologist (SP) while we waited for a diagnosis. The SP referred us to an Occupational Therapist. Once diagnosed, we were referred to Pathways for Children. They informed us of the government’s “direct-funding” option for therapy. Pathways knew of another local family who had JDN Center for Children travelling to them, so they suggested that for us, too.
JDN: When did you start with JDN Center for Children?
DIANA: We started last autumn.
JDN: You were hesitant at the beginning when you didn’t see much progress with Austin. How were you feeling in those first weeks/months?
DIANA: My goal going into it was to improve his speech. I expressed that to JDN Center for Children right from the beginning so I was surprised when they were teaching him clapping, waving, and other physical forms of communication rather than verbal. I told myself to give them a chance. JDN Center for Children reassured me that they respected my wishes and heard what I was saying but that there is a tested process, that may be confusing to me at the outset, but that leads to results. It became apparent that my child needed to first learn to be in ‘our’ world before he could tackle big things like speech. They are the professionals, and they know what they are doing.
JDN: What kind of progress have you since witnessed with Austin?
DIANA: He follows instruction a lot better. He is more apt to follow rules. He was a maniac before; he was on his own agenda. Before, he would go pee in any room. Now, he goes to the bathroom, takes down his pants, and finishes with washing his hands. It sounds ridiculous, but that is not standard for an autistic child. He’s closer to being a typical kid than I ever imagined he would be. He sits nicely at the table, he holds hands with me, and he goes to other people. These little things make a big difference to his life and to ours.
JDN: Diana, was there a ‘eureka’ moment during Austin’s therapy, or, perhaps, a moment that you will never forget?
DIANA: The teaching is a slow and steady process, so there are no ‘eureka’ moments. But, one very memorable moment… My partner had never heard the word ‘Dada’ from his own child; to hear that, finally at 4 years old, sent a stream of tears down his face. It was our greatest moment since Austin’s birth.
JDN: What would you say to a parent thinking about using JDN Center for Children?
DIANA: Respect their protocols. It may be hard at first but have patience; they will give you the results but it needs to be achieved in their methodical way that has been tailored to your child’s individual needs. For example, I found it odd that a different therapist was sent every day. But thinking on it now, it makes sense. My son will have more than one teacher, more than one bus driver, and more than one person in his life. He has to get used to repetition of events but with different people; all of them working toward achieving the same results from him. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Autism can’t be cured in a day. Small steps. It will happen.
JDN: As a parent with this experience under your wings, is there anything else that you wish to add for the benefit of our readers?
DIANA: Yes. 1.) Never give up trying to teach them. It’s all about repetition, love, patience, and persistence. Eventually, it will click with them, just like with a ‘regular’ kid. 2.) Both parents need to be equally involved in educating themselves on autism and ways of effectively dealing with their child because consistency is extremely important in the child’s learning process; I can’t stress that enough. 3.) JDN Center for Children is trustworthy and skilled. I am very comfortable leaving my son in their care.
Here’s an amazing video of Austin’s speech progress:
JDN Center for Children is passionate about assisting families living with diagnoses such as Autism. Alleviation truly is just around the corner. We use applied behavioral analysis (ABA), placing emphasis on functional skills that are meaningful in day-to-day life that will, over time, affect targeted behaviors. Clear as mud? In every-day language, we build a natural environment to help kids learn new skills and grow.