My son Thomas (Tommy) turned 4 years old on August 22, 2022. At his 3-year checkup we started to notice that Tommy’s speech was delayed, and speech therapy was highly recommended and would be in his best interest. I called a dozen places in the Toledo area and Rehab Dynamics had the shortest wait list in the area. Unfortunately, with our insurance, they are considered out of network but that did not matter. The only thing that mattered was Tommy and his need to thrive. Quickly after he started speech therapy at Rehab Dynamics, they recommended occupational therapy.
Having little to no experience with OT, I began reading about sensory processing disorder, expressive speech delay, obsessive compulsive disorder and many other traits that led me to autism spectrum disorder. The more I read, the more I knew Tommy was exceptionally unique. I knew he was autistic before the official diagnosis. I could see it, feel it, and hear it.
Tommy is a smart, funny, active little boy with a HUGE heart. He is, to a fault, very empathetic and concerned about others around him. When Tommy is in public whether it’s the zoo, a park, outdoor event, or our neighborhood, he becomes overstimulated and tries to elope. We currently have a small wagon to try to keep him safe when in public, but Tommy is tall for his age and has outgrown it. There are very few wagons currently on the market that can accommodate his size. We researched our options and found the four-seat Wonderfold Wagon. We knew it could meet his needs and provide plenty of room for both of our growing boys. Having his 2-year-old brother, Owen, ride along with him is an added advantage because it helps Tommy feel safe and less overwhelmed when we’re out. Unfortunately, the durable wagons are expensive, and with the out-of-network costs for speech therapy and OT, we needed assistance to buy a new wagon.
Thanks to the Suzanne Tyner Fund, my son received a new larger Wonderfold Wagon. This wagon has been so much help to us! Tommy is only four, but when Tommy gets overwhelmed or overstimulated, he tends to either run or cling to us, but having this wagon as a safe place to retreat with a large canopy option is comforting for him and us! He loves that his little brother gets to ride with him too. Thank you so much Avenues for Autism!
Story submitted by Lindsey (Tommy’s mom)