An Imua Autism Success Story
Stephanie, Mother of Ethan (5 years old) shares her story:
I always wanted to be a parent – this was my prayer. Ethan started out doing everything, walking, talking, sounding out words, then all of a sudden that stopped, I mean nothing! I told doctor about that and she said,
“Let’s get him evaluated,” and that is how it all started.
Ethan stopped making eye contact, he stopped giving any signs of affection, it was a complete change because he had all of that as a baby, all this started to change around 18 months. Then we learned, after lots of tests and evaluations that Ethan has Autism. When Ethan first started recieving Autism Services at Imua, he was in his own world, no interaction with anyone and no vocabulary at all. He was completely withdrawn, no one could touch him, hold him or anything. Ethan would also not eat anything at all. In the beginning, all we could get him to eat was baby food even though he was not a baby anymore. Now he will eat noodles, brown rice, milk and cheerios.
Since coming to Imua and working with the therapists, he has made such progress; some of the biggest are with his vocabulary and social skills. The first big change we saw was him making eye contact again, being able to look at us and touch our hands. Being able to let someone hug him – this was huge and it meant so much to me.
Now his vocabulary is huge! Maria (his Registered Behavior Technician) really helped to unlock his vocabulary. Now he knows words and he knows what they are associated with. We went from nothing to now we get at least 5 minutes with him when he becomes engaged. Now he wants to sit on your lap and wants to have contact with you. These are things I never thought would be possible again. It’s a huge breakthrough! I know this sounds small, but now he can sit down and write his name.
As far as I’m concerned, Ethan is a blessing, but it is very hard being a single parent with a special needs child – super hard. Because of Imua, Tracy, Goldean, Janelle (Board Certified Behavior Analysts) and Maria – the team who works with my child, I am able to do it. They really make sure that I can take care of him, but also take care of myself too. They go above and beyond with that, you know – they do not have to be concerned with me, they are there to focus on Ethan – but they care about me and how I am managing to care for him fully. They are awesome!
What we are preparing him for is to be the best he can be – and I believe it now. If it wasn’t for Imua, we would never be at this stage. Before everything was getting worse, each day, now everything gets better, bit by bit, each day. I have hope again. At the end of the day, some days are are so hard, some nights I cry, but when I look at him sleeping, it’s all worth it.
He is worth it!