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SARRC Phoenix Stories

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SARRC's 2018 Phoenix Stories Submission

Kiri and Jim Rubin were perplexed and overwhelmed that their toddler son, Dean, was non-responsive to his name and surroundings, and would occasionally cause harm to himself. He would refuse to eat at times and was terrified of water.

Out of desperation Kiri would stand behind him and would exclaim his name, ‘Dean, Dean, Dean,’ but he wouldn’t respond.

When at 12 months-old, and not meeting typical developmental milestones, Kiri and Jim knew something wasn’t right.

‘I sort of grew cold with fear that something was off,’ says Kiri.

‘He was nonresponsive to his name, to directions; I was known as ‘stranger man,’ because even at 2 and 1/2 years old I could come home and through the front door and he wouldn’t recognize me,’ recalls Jim. ‘In fact, he wouldn’t even look toward the front door to see that I’d come in.’ 

Stricken with emotion, Kiri and Jim knew they had to take action. They continued to push for answers and shortly after, received a formal autism diagnosis.

They learned of SARRC, and knew it was the best resource for Dean. At 2 and 1/2 years old, he entered SARRC’s inclusive preschool program, the Community School, where children with and without autism learn alongside each other. SARRC’s team shaped a rigorous individualized treatment plan aimed at improving Dean’s social skills and behaviors.

During the time he was enrolled in the Community School, Dean progressed rapidly — he was able to communicate his needs and desires, became more independent, conquered his fear of water and confidently walked down the aisle during his preschool graduation ceremony.

The Rubin’s were astounded by this progress, though they never thought it possible for their son. Progress that was made possible through SARRC’s individualized treatment plan, Kiri and Jim’s dedication to Dean’s therapies and Dean’s teachers and support system.
Today, Dean is thriving as a first grader in a mainstream first-grade classroom. He’s looking forward to beginning the second grade in summer 2018.

Dean found his path. That path was lit by a team of dedicated clinicians, educators, healthcare providers, and most importantly, a mother and father who would not waver in finding the best solutions possible for their son. 

Stories like Dean’s propel SARRC to continue to push for the best possible outcomes for every family. We’re grateful to serve thousands of families each year — from infants, toddlers, young children, adolescents, teens and adults. And while we have transformed and grown immensely, we remain focused on how we can continue to provide the best, evidence-based care and support to every family who comes through our doors.

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