This guest post was written by Terri Baker whose son, Kyle, was treated by our FirstPath Autism Founder, Romey Kiryakous and her team at the Genesis Behavior Center.
Our son Kyle was born a little over 20 years ago. He was our 4th child and very different from the day he was born. Physically you would not have guessed he was any different from any other baby. Even though Kyle could run by 9 months he did not say a word, make eye contact, or smile. He preferred limited physical contact and to have everything the same- no change in routine. He did not answer or come when his name was called.
“Kyle was still locked away in his own world…”
At 18 months Kyle was evaluated because, though he was spoken to a lot, he did not say a word. He started receiving speech and OT therapy. It helped some, but Kyle was still locked away in his own world. At 4 years old he was almost choked to death by another kid in the neighborhood, because he never called for help or tried to stop the other child. If my husband had not come around the corner at the time that he did Kyle would no longer be with us.
“No one ever mentioned the word Autism…”
Starting at age 3 the school district had Kyle evaluated several time by impressive title experts. No one ever mentioned the word Autism. Kyle started a program through the school district, but he was becoming harder and harder to deal with.
We had had enough! We had trusted the school district but felt we were getting no answers or true help for Kyle. We took Kyle out of system to be privately evaluated; finally at age 8 Kyle received his diagnosis of Autism, and we knew what we were dealing. Best of all? We could finally get him the help he needed.
“We finally learned why the school never uttered the word Autism…”
But no, we finally learned why the school never uttered the word Autism: all along they did not want to have to pay for ABA Therapy (Applied Behavior Analysis). When we had our diagnosis in hand, then came the claims from the school district that he was too old to benefit from ABA. Through a very good lawyer and numerous (up to 12 hour) IEP meetings, Kyle finally, at age 9, received his ABA therapy from Genesis Behavior Center (parent company of FirstPath Autism Inc.).
ABA was the key to the world around him.
ABA gave Kyle his voice and saved him. We learned from him about the hidden school district-wide condoned mistreatment of him and others with Special Needs. Kyle had been physically, mentally, and verbally abused by teachers, principals, and administrates for years. This had been the reason his behavior had been so out of control; he had had no voice to get help.
Kyle has been let out of the cage of Autism through ABA. And who did we find? A very loving, kind, smart and funny soul with a great imagination.
Today Kyle is fully in the world around him.
I love to hear him say, “Mom, I have a question,” when he does not understand something. He now seeks out the help and information he needs from the people around him. He has several typically developing friends. He loves to be hugged. He takes care of all his own personally hygiene issues. He cooks; we are still working on expanding what he will eat. Kyle goes to the movies and other events with his friends.
Most importantly, Kyle has received through ABA the help he needed to fix his behavioral problems. He recognizes his emotions and can read them in others around him.
One of the most important things we did as a family is learn how to reinforce ABA at home. Kyle now writes social stories for children and young adults with autism to use, along with ABA, to help them negotiate their world. Kyle is also working on a novel which will be published soon.
–Terri Baker (Mother of Kyle)