Luke, at three years old, was diagnosed with Autism. He was the developmental age of a 1 year old. When we first received the diagnosis, it was a very difficult time for us. Although it was hard to hear, we finally had an answer regarding his development which gave us hope and the opportunity to create a plan to get him the help he needed.
Luke lives at home with his parents, 8-year-old brother, and 4-year-old twin sister. At the time of diagnosis, Luke was nonverbal, had difficulty expressing emotions; he yelled and cried to indicate a problem. He has overall blunted affect, difficulty with focus, concentration, and eye contact. He often isolates and had minimal socialization skills. Luke had routinely been observed playing on his own, typically in a separate room, instead of interacting with his siblings and or parents. He required constant redirection and encouragement to engage with this family.
Luke received much care from his parents and family; however, he also required an in-home caregiver currently as he was unable to attend traditional day care. Luke’s diagnosing physician recommended that he begin Play therapy as well as ABA therapy and speech therapy for optimal progress in addressing his delays.
With most things, we found much of the therapies and treatment were not paid through insurance, causing out of pocket expenses for us. We experienced lost wages and increased caregiving costs related to Luke’s treatment. The cost of the therapy presents a significant financial burden to our family, so any assistance was helpful.
Thanks to the Avenues for Autism Suzanne Tyner Fund we received the assistance we needed to enroll Luke in the Play Project last year. Luke received assistance again this year and is now in speech therapy. It was our fear that without these much needed and recommended evidenced based interventions, that Luke would continue to suffer from significant developmental delays. Happily, we are excited to say that Luke started talking in October. He is saying 100+ words, is communicating more and more each day, and is the happiest little boy. He loves to play with his siblings and friends now too. He will continue ABA treatment and can now mainstream into regular pre-K in the fall with his twin sister. Luke is achieving many goals that were set for him and we can’t wait to see him continue to succeed. We are incredibly grateful for the support.
-The Parents of Luke