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How Early Intervention Services Helped My Son With Autism

I gathered my son’s evaluations and progress reports and tucked them in my backpack as I headed to the school. While waiting for everyone to arrive, my eyes glanced over the 15-page diagnostic paperwork and through the ABA, OT, speech and neuro evals. Reading over the pages of reports, it’s hard to remember what life was like as we started the journey of early intervention services shortly after my son was diagnosed with mild autism spectrum disorder at age 2-and-a-half. There were pages and pages of reports and diagnostic evals and progress reports. As my eyes ran over the pages, words such as stimming, repetitive, transitions, sensory, self-injurious, ecolalia and routine stood out to me — and it was hard to believe the pages in front of me were talking about the same little boy I know today. He’s come so far. We’ve come so far thanks to early intervention.

Once everyone arrived, I glanced around the room and took a deep, breath realizing this was a day I’d been waiting and praying for. Today we discussed Mason’s three year re-evaluation for special education services which will take place next fall. My goal when I advocated for services almost three years ago was to give him the supports he needed to be successful in the academic environment, and shed light on the fact that academic performance is not the only indicator that a child is thriving in an educational setting. For my son with mild autism, many of his sensory, adaptive and social struggles were the reasons he needed support, and as time progressed it was evident he needed it as we started to face withdrawal and shutdown behavior as course work intensified. Today he thrives in a general education classroom with minimal to no supports.

Today I sat with academic professionals and discussed the steps ahead as we look at re-evaluation. I’m hopeful we will continue to make progress this year and that re-evaluation will show he no longer requires special education services and supports and we can transition to a 504 plan. I am blessed to be his mom and grateful for the gift of being able to see life through a different lens through him.

Getty photo by Nil Image.