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Austin was 18 months old when his mother Gina began observing changes in his behavior. He seemed to be regressing. Other than the word “momma,” he’d stopped talking, and he wasn’t playing with other kids the same way. Austin would clap his hands, spin around and make strange noises. His parents became worried. At two, Gina talked to the pediatrician about their growing concerns. He told them to wait – give it six months to see if his speech returned.
Gina remembers the stress of it all. “It was hard not knowing. It’s difficult having to wait so long for a diagnosis when you already know something is not right with your child.”
Six months came and went and still no diagnosis. Gina talked to a friend who had a child with speech problems. She referred Gina to Our Children’s House at Waxahachie (OCH Waxahachie).
“Once they did an evaluation on him, they knew he needed help even before he had an official diagnosis of Autism. His fine motor skills were poor, and he was way behind on his speech,” explains Gina.
Austin started by receiving speech and occupational therapy and later added physical and aquatic therapy. His therapists immediately recommended that he enroll in Mother’s Day Out, then school so he could begin regularly interacting with other children. The staff also armed Gina with tools and techniques to use at home, so that Austin could continue to improve even when he wasn’t at therapy.
Of course, the therapy itself has proven to be invaluable to Austin’s development as well. “If it weren’t for the therapy, we wouldn’t be where we are now,” Gina insists. “He can cut with scissors now and do a lot of other fine motor things that he couldn’t do before. He also has a lot of words now that he uses.”
Not only does he have an expanded vocabulary, he’s using it to communicate effectively. He’s able to ask for things that he wants, which to his parents is both surprising and very much a relief. In addition, Austin has progressed from flopping on the floor and throwing a tantrum before his therapy sessions, to being able to sit in a chair and learn. His ability to receive therapy and the tremendous strides he has already made give every indication that he will continue to improve with the help of OCH Waxahachie.
His parents feel that it is the combination of the therapies that has helped Austin so much. They say it has provided him with the tools he needs to succeed and say they feel blessed to have the OCH Waxahachie staff in their lives.
“From the front desk, all the way down the line, everyone there has been just awesome,” says Gina. “The things they teach kids are not just for the therapy world. They prepare them for the real world. I wish every child could have them as therapists because they just do so much.”
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