I’m Thankful For You: My Son’s ABA Therapist

(Editor’s Note: This article was provided by Joann and is part of Cooper’s, ‘I’m Thankful For You’ Campaign.)

This November I would like to honor and thank my son’s ABA Therapist, Ronnie.

My name is Joann and my husband Jeff and I have two sons. Dylan is nine and Christian is three. Christian was diagnosed with Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Expressive Receptive-Language Disorder in March. He was also nonverbal.

Christian developed typically until 18 months and that’s when we noticed he stopped babbling. All of the words he had were gone. Just gone. It was so weird. It was like one day he was talking and babbling like a typical 18 month old and then all went quiet. I wasn’t sure what was going on. I noticed he would always pull on his ears and cover them too so the first thing we did was get a hearing test. He passed that no problem. Then I started noticing other things. He was obsessed with ceiling fans, walked on his tip toes and didn’t respond to his name. My gut told me something was going on.

I took Christian to the pediatrician twice and both times I was brushed off and told that all kids are different and some talk later than others. I just couldn’t accept that, because he had words previously. He was babbling and then he wasn’t.

At that point I reached out to a high-school friend who gave me information on early intervention. Christian started services at 22 months. Christian is now three and receives in-home services and in-home ABA. Christian was officially diagnosed on paper in March of this year. Before going to the appointment, both my husband and I knew what the diagnosis would be…but, seeing it on paper made it real. I was like, ‘OK Joann, we can do this. We’ll get him all the therapy and we will do this.’ We tried many different centers and therapies.

In June I contacted a company about ABA Therapy and Ronnie came to our home. Right away we noticed a difference and a break through. It was like a door was unlocked. He immediately took to Ronnie and she’s amazing with our little boy. She not only helped our son Christian, she also helped my husband and I. She’s the only therapist Christian will put his tablet willing down for, so you know that means a lot! Especially for a kiddo on the spectrum.

In the last few weeks Christian has started to speak! And I credit Ronnie! She introduced us to this game called Zingo and a book called Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site. She uses Zingo to get words out of him in a fun way. I honestly never thought I’d hear my son’s voice again after he son lost his voice at 18 months. Ronnie is patient and sweet she takes her time with him. She has become like family!

Ronnie even includes our oldest son Dylan who is neurotypical in some of their sessions. I think that is so great! Despite being the older brother, it can be hard to be the sibling to an autistic child. He sees all of these people coming to see his brother and feels left out at times. Ronnie takes the time to include my oldest son and it makes him feel happy.

 

I just want to add that Dylan is an amazing big brother. He never wants to leave Christian out. The bond these two have is amazing. I remember Dylan asking me ‘What if my brother never talks again mom?’ He plays a huge part in helping his brother. He gives him squeezes when he needs them. Christian is a sensory seeker and loves deep pressure.

Over the weekend we carved our pumpkin, lit it and turned off the lights and Christian started to sing happy birthday. We had no idea he even knew the song and here all along he’s known it. He just didn’t know how to get the words out. When Ronnie started working with him he said one or two words and now he can say four word sentences!

We still have a ways to go but with Ronnie in our village I know we will get there! She takes the time to listen to me and addresses my concerns and then we work on them together. She’s amazing. She’s helped Christian with finding his voice and transitioning. Now he attends preschool two days a week! None of this could have been done without Ronnie. She’s given myself and my husband strength and confidence that we didn’t have.

Thank you Ronnie!


You can still nominate the doctors, therapists, teachers, friends and family that make a difference in your special needs world. Click HERE to learn how!

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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