When 4-year-old Ethan was diagnosed with autism at 18 months old, his parents Matt and Beth knew that early intervention services would help him to reach his fullest potential. The family placed him in both speech and occupational therapies but grew frustrated with a lack of results. It was then that they turned to SARRC’s JumpStart program.
Matt and Beth reported that, within a week of participating in the JumpStart program and applying the newly learned Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) exercises, Ethan looked them in the eyes for the first time since he was an infant.
“I think it was vital that both Beth and I participated in the program so that we could each not only learn about autism, ABA therapy, or how to gain access to state services, but also to see firsthand how Ethan willingly responded to the entire experience,” Matt says.
While enrolled in the six-week program, they were approached by SARRC clinicians and were told about the Community School.
Ethan is now in his third year at SARRC’s Community School and is thriving. In addition to his time in school, he participates in one-on-one and parent-teacher training sessions weekly.
“We implement the tools and training we receive from SARRC every day and in multiple ways,” Beth says. “Ethan works best with consistency, so we have found that with SARRC’s help we have our biggest breakthroughs and most sustained progress when we are able to reinforce what Ethan learns in Community School or in one-on-one training at home.”
The family also affirms that Ethan’s entire life—at both school and home—has been positively impacted.
“At home, SARRC has helped us to work on Ethan’s ability to follow direction, use utensils, drink from a cup, expand his diet, dress himself, ride a big wheel, as well as communicate with his PECS book and now his speech device,” Matt explains.
With bright red hair and a go-getter attitude, Matt and Beth say that Ethan continues to impress them with his hard work and dedication.
“While Ethan is nonverbal, he amazes us with the way he tackles the obstacles he must face each day. He is very clever and determined, but those traits also make him always willing to learn.
No matter what happens in their autism journey, Matt and Beth acknowledge that SARRC’s team holds a special place in their hearts.
“The creativity and energy they bring to working with our son is contagious and solidifies in our heart that we are collectively doing the best for the most precious person in our life,” Beth says.