My child, Seoeon was diagnosed with severe autism at 2-years-old (she is now 6 years old). Seoeon’s communication milestones were delayed, as her language skills continued to show issues. Her language delay was the main concern compared to peers her age. She demonstrated limited joint attention, eye contact and engagement in activities not of her choosing. Seoeon was reluctant to transition from preferred to non-preferred activities. Unable to get along with other people, Seoeon played alone, lining up toys, moving her hands around, and making incomprehensible sounds. At the time, we thought she was an independent, babbling, late talker. Also, Seoeon could not sleep well, so she woke up four or five times throughout the night and it took several hours to fall asleep again. Seoeon was whining all day, and the tantrums and meltdowns got worse. When I called, there was no response, and even when I returned from work, she did not welcome me. We felt something unusual, and finally found out that Seoeon has autism.
To make the situation better, she attended occupation therapy, speech therapy, ABA Program full day MF with Mercy Children’s Hospital Autism Program. She received specially designed instruction in speech and language, especially using speech devices. Thanks to the support from “Avenues for Autism Suzanne Tyner Fund,” Seoeon could have speech devices and learn how to make sound and communication from a speech therapist. The device helps to express her demand and follow the sounds. As parents, it is an amazing experience that her demand is wide and various which I underestimated since she never asked before.
She also received occupational therapy which focuses on her fine motor skills and sensory needs, and specially designed instruction to help with her adaptive behavior. Thanks to this program, she is improving her language skills and she makes some sounds for demands. Moreover, Mercy helps her to make clear articulation since she had articulation disorders as well. I hope this can connect for her socially and help her to have friends like typical kids.
The occupational therapy is a treatment for problems with movement and coordination of Seoeon. It helps her improve the motor skills involved in everyday tasks, like writing and getting dressed. “I will never forget the moment she dressed herself and smiled,” said Seoeon’s dad.
During an IEP meeting this year, it was mentioned that Seoeon’s delays in the areas of receptive, expressive, and social language will affect her ability to participate in classroom activities and routines, effectively communicate her wants, needs, and ideas and to interact socially with peers. So, we decided to remain in Mercy. With Mercy therapy programs, we expect to make Seoeon increase her language and communication skills and improve her attention, focus, and social skills and decrease problem behaviors. We hope this helps her to be ready to go to school someday.
When I first found out about my child’s autism, I was so desperate, and it felt like there was no hope for us. The first few years were exceedingly difficult for all our family. We did not know what to do seeing a child who could not sleep, and speak, However, in recent years, Seoeon has achieved a lot of development and growth with Mercy programs. She is steadily growing at her own pace, which is a great joy, and we are grateful. Our family knows that this would not have been possible without the special therapy that she is receiving. We are confident that Seoeon will be able to communicate with people more and learn the skills to adapt and live as a part of society through these therapies. Seoeon’s dad shares, “As a parent, I really appreciate the Avenues for Autism Suzanne Tyner Autism Assistance Fund to help provide her with her speech device last year. We are grateful for the new grant this year to help pay for the expenses not covered by insurance so that Seoeon can grow into a happier child by participating in the therapy programs at Mercy.”