March 21, 2017
BENEFITING: Easter Seals North Texas Inc.
EVENT: Walk With Me 2017
EVENT DATE: Mar 26, 2017
Amber Imhoff wrote -
On Bryce's 2nd birthday he said, "What are you doing?" After that he learned his letters, numbers and shapes. Autism wasn't even on our radar.
When our brilliant boy Bryce turned three he could identify 30 dinosaurs and every car logo we saw. He could also repeat long dialog from his favorite show (Dinosaur Train) complete with an adorable reenactment. Although he clearly could talk, he did not use language to communicate. He could not answer a "yes" or "no" question or tell us that he wanted milk to drink. He no longer asked "What are you doing?"
We thought Bryce was a little shy...a bit of an introvert. At school he preferred to play by himself and to sit a little away from his classmates. Teachers and other parents would tell us how much he liked to stand by the window and watch the cars. He resisted hugs and close contact from peers at school. He was, however, loving, happy and affectionate at home. He did not make great eye contact with teachers and peers at school, but at home he would grab my face and look me in square in the eyes...and smile :)
Not long after he turned three the dots connected - obsession, scripting, regressed or stalled and limited expressive speech, poor eye contact, ridged routines - and he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Frantically, we scrambled to learn as much as we could about autism and what services and environment might best help him grow and thrive.
Thankfully, we found the Easter Seals of North Texas Child Development Center, a fully inclusive preschool program implemented by caring, dedicated and enthusiastic providers with supervision from a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. It is a certified replication of the only nationally recognized Incidental Teaching and National Association for the Education of Young Children model, the Walden Early Childhood Center at Emory University in Atlanta. In addition to receiving incidental ABA therapy, he receives speech and occupational therapy on site.
Fast forward one year. Bryce is now four years old. Expressive language and complete sentences are still a challenge, but he can now ask for milk (and pizza and every lego set he sees). He has again asked, "What are you doing?" He has no problem sitting with his peers at circle time and actually enjoys it. He has friends! Friends that he plays with rather than just near!
I know, without a doubt, that he would not be making the progress he is making without the Child Development Center. I am thankful every day that we found it and for the special people who serve and love my child and all the children there.
We are thrilled that Bryce is an Ambassador for Easter Seals' "Walk With Me 2017." We would love for you to join us! If you can't make the walk, please consider making a donation. Any amount helps and all of it adds up to growth and increased opportunities for children like Bryce and many other special children and families.
• $200 provides 12 hours of job coaching to a person with a disability who is ready to work
• $500 provides 27 hours of respite care for a caregiver of an adult with a disability
• $1,000 provides 10 hours of speech language therapy for a child with a disability
• $2,500 provides 25 hours of physical or occupational therapy for a child or an adult
• $5,000 provides a full month of autism therapy services to a child