We are blessed to have Horizons helping us on our journey as parents of a child on the autism spectrum. Our son, Carter, was a late walker and talker and was often described as a very stubborn and spirited child.
At age four we took Carter in for an early childhood evaluation. During the assessment, he spit beads across the table and absolutely refused to wear the big headphones necessary for the hearing test. At that point, he was labeled as developmentally delayed and placed in the special education preschool.
During his first two years of elementary school, he was often in trouble for behavioral issues and already hated going to school. His kindergarten placement was better, but he still had a lot of problems behaving, especially during unstructured times.
After a particularly violent tantrum at home, we decided to seek professional help. We met with a psychologist who referred us to a pediatric neuropsychologist and we eventually received the diagnosis of PDD-NOS. We were concerned about his future and poured ourselves into researching his diagnosis and possible treatments. All this knowledge was overwhelming and we weren’t sure where to begin.
We already knew about Horizons, but had naively thought that we would never need the center’s services since Carter was not autistic. Upon getting his diagnosis, we set up a meeting. The core deficits that were described really seemed to fit Carter’s challenges and the developmental, family-based approach made so much sense to us. The notion that we could work on improving these areas, gave us hope and we began our therapy at Horizons with Erin.
In general, Carter is able to behave appropriately in his classroom and at extra-curricular activities. He continues to have issues interacting with peers and dealing with frustration, but he is better able to refocus his behavior. His outbursts are less frequent and he is able to calm down in a shorter amount of time. He is now more verbal and we frequently have real conversations, rather than one-way question and answer sessions. He is starting to see things from different perspectives and accept that mistakes are okay.
Life with Carter is still a rollercoaster ride with many ups and downs. However, the CORE Approach has given us the tools to connect with Carter on a deeper level and manage his behaviors in a calm manner. It allows us to work on fixing the root issues, rather than a temporary solution. During the past two years we have become more confident in our role as parents. We are better able to enjoy our family time together and see a bright future for Carter. Isn’t that what all parents desire and deserve? Thanks Horizons!