After a bicycle accident last summer left her in a cast and stitches, Michelle came to visit and bring social stories.
When Emily was diagnosed at the age of three, I was completely overwhelmed with the recommendations that were given to me. I immediately started reading any book on autism I could find. One of the books I relied on was The Autism Sourcebook. I highlighted as I read and made notes. There were so many costly treatments that were thought to help with autism. Hyperbaric oxygen chambers, diets, listening therapy, play therapy, and shots just to name a few. However the one recommendation that was scientifically proven was ABA therapy. A type of behavior intervention specifically targeting and teaching those on the spectrum. The recommendation was 40 hours a week of intensive therapy. At $40-50 an hour with no insurance that would cover the cost, that wasn't an option.
Emily was blessed with 6 hours a week of ABA for several years. Michelle, her therapist, was a God send and she quickly became Emily's saving grace. She came into our home and worked with Emily. She went with me to IEP meetings. She took Emily on outings to work on meltdowns and tantrums. She purposely put Emily into situations that would cause a meltdown so that she could teach her how to handle herself in a more appropriate manner. These were things I couldn't do with three kids. I was in survival mode and getting through the day was what we did. Michelle accepted every challenge Emily gave her and she accepted every request from me. She made social stories and picture schedules for Emily. She worked on academic goals as well as behavior. The 6 hours a week eventually became 4 hours a week, then 2 hours a week and now after 8 years, I am struggling to provide 4 hours a month of ABA for Emily. But without a doubt, the early intervention she received along with a caring and accepting therapist is the one thing I know for certain has helped Emily more than anything.
Finding someone who supports you and your child is essential in any working relationship. Because of the help Michelle has given Emily, I am able to accept the challenges of raising a child with autism more easily. I have the tools and a readily available support person to call when the next "crisis" arises. She accepts Emily as she is and has not once in 8 years made me feel like I wasn't doing enough. She also accepts that sometimes my house isn't going to be spotless and there's going to be dishes in the sink or clothes to be folded on the couch. She's currently working with Emily on folding clothes as a new life skill. Just another example of why I love our ABA therapist so much.