When Beca found out that her 4-year-old son Miles was diagnosed with autism, she called a friend to share the news and seek advice. Little did she know that one phone call would have a major impact on her family’s experience with the diagnosis.
“She [the friend] had taken a tour of the facility with a group of elementary school counselors, therapists and psychologists,” Beca says. “She told me about her visit to SARRC and put me in contact with a school psych intern who had worked there. A few months later, Miles and I were walking in the front door to our first session.”
Beca and Miles participated in the JumpStart program, a six-week initiative that provides state-of-the-art information, support and training for parents of children up to age 6 who have been diagnosed with or are at risk for ASD.
“I was told that the JumpStart program was an opportunity for parents and their newly diagnosed children to receive information and training on ABA [Applied Behavior Analysis] therapy and how to access resources in the community that will also help our children with autism,” Beca says. “I was also told that JumpStart and SARRC were successful in helping families affected by autism.”
Through their experience with JumpStart, Beca and Miles quickly discovered that everything they were told was true.
“JumpStart gave me the tools I needed to feel knowledgeable about autism and evidence-based approaches, including PRT (Pivotal Response Training), to use with Miles to get him to make eye contact, increase his language, decrease his outbursts, and help with social situations,” Beca says. “From the first meeting, I felt connected with the other families involved in JumpStart and, for the first time as a parent, felt as if I found others who knew my journey, my fears, my questions. I didn’t feel alone anymore.”
She says that JumpStart was valuable to her because she was able to take home what she learned in each session and immediately put the new practices to work.
“Pivotal Response Training drastically changed how I parented my child because it eliminated the frustration I felt before when Miles wasn’t interacting with me or talking,” Beca says. “Without JumpStart, I don’t think Miles would have the language skills he has today and he would not be easy to take out in public.”
Beca describes Miles as “on the go from the moment he gets up until he goes to sleep.” His fascination with sprinklers earned him an invitation to Hunter Sprinkler International in California to tour their factory.
“Miles blows me away with how easy he can pick up new knowledge! He is so happy and is my heart,” Beca says.
While Beca and Miles have completed JumpStart, she says that she will always keep SARRC in mind for the future.
“Autism is a journey,” Beca says. “Every single one of us starts our journey at different places and will experience different highs and lows on our way. Bringing in help is the best way to make sure that the road traveled has more highs than lows.”
To learn more about SARRC’s JumpStart program, call 602-218-8211 or email [email protected].