Has autism affected your family? How did you handle the diagnosis? How has your child benefited from ABA therapy? Would you recommend The New Haven Learning Centre to others?
Share your own experiences in raising a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Your story will bring hope to many parents in need.
A New Haven Parent Says Thank You!
Our son was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 years old. Immediately, we started an Intensive Behavioural Intervention program for him, which was run privately out of our home. His needs were multifaceted and he required many hours of intensive one-to-one teaching input to develop skills in the areas of language, academics, social, play and self-help. Although he was initially receiving 30 hours/week of ABA therapy, our service provider was having difficulty sustaining the programming intensity. There were times when he would receive as few as 3 hours of therapy per week. It was at this time, as we were agonizing over our son’s behavioural regression and loss of skill acquisition that we decided to make a change.
We knew all about New Haven and the quality of educational programming and intervention they provided, but at the time of our son’s diagnosis there were no spots available. Thankfully, on this occasion, the Centre was expanding and he was accepted. To this day, we feel blessed by our good fortune. At New Haven, he receives intensive, one-to-one and small group instruction from 9:00am to 3:00pm, five days per week in an expanded year round program. An individual education plan, designed to meet his specific needs is set up for him by the Centre’s Clinical Director, with our input incorporated. Every single aspect of his day is now a learning experience. Even lunch presents opportunities to shape and develop life skills and social skills.
We know that the programming our son is receiving at New Haven is essential to his development and is making a real difference in his life. We truly believe that without New Haven, we would not have seen such progress in his ability to learn and interact with those around him. For that, we are so grateful to the staff. Their tireless efforts and contributions make a world of difference to children like our son. It gives us great pleasure to have this opportunity to express our gratitude to the Centre’s exceptional Clinical Director and team of instructors for all that they do!
Thank you so much!
The Hard Work Has Paid Off
We had concerns about our eldest son, Jamie, since he was born – the inexplicable tantrums, the inability to communicate. He became increasingly withdrawn, not responding to his name or acknowledging family members and peers. After his 3rd birthday, it appeared that he could no longer function in the regular daycare that he had been attending since his first year. About that time, in the summer of 2005, he was diagnosed with autism in the moderate to severe range. It was baffling living with a child that, on the outside, appeared to be a “normal” child with so much potential that was so disabled by such a mysterious condition.
We began researching ABA centres in the Toronto area and as soon as we walked into New Haven, we felt we were in the right place – the bright, spacious classrooms, clamour of kids at work, the artwork and bikes in the halls and gym full of sports equipment gave it the feel of a “regular” school, a comforting feeling for parents who have just learned that their child is profoundly different from typical kids in many important ways. But we also saw that very serious and difficult teaching work was going on, that all the kids in this “school” were autistic but they were learning. Jamie thrived at New Haven and within a few months we saw skills we thought he might never be able to acquire. A gesture as simple as giving occasional eye contact when we called his name or asking us for something were new and exciting to us.
Two years of full-time ABA at New Haven and everyone can see that the hard work has paid off. Jamie is a chatty kid who won’t leave us alone (and that’s a good thing!), constantly prattling on about what he is watching or seeing around him. He can recite his ABC’s, print his letters and count. This September he started Kindergarten half days at a local public school and spends the other half day at New Haven. We know that he can learn and we are quite optimistic that he can be completely integrated and function independently in a regular school classroom in the next year or so. Equally as important as the academic progress is Jamie’s emotional well-being: tantrums are an occasional occurrence in our household, he interacts with his family, is starting to enjoy his peers, is aware of his accomplishments and takes pride in them. Jamie still has much work to do – he continues with speech therapy, social skills groups and other programs geared to autistic children. Jamie has become the hardest working 5-year old we know. Now however, we have met many other hard-working children, parents, directors, instructors and other people that make New Haven the exceptional place that it is.
Our daughter Emily began her journey with New Haven in February 2004. Now, 3 years later, she is being integrated into a typical school with incredible success. New Haven is helping in this transition and it has made us feel so comfortable with her being in a new environment. Emily has accomplished more in 3 years than we could have ever imagined or hoped for. New Haven helped Emily develop in every area, from verbal skills to eye contact and motor skill development. The teachers and staff at New Haven, in our opinion, are the best and they display compassion along with a firm and consistent teaching method.
I want to thank New Haven for working so hard to help Emily develop into the wonderful child she is today. The impact that this school has had on our lives could never be measured.
We knew there was a wonderful, happy little girl waiting to be found and New Haven was the perfect place for that to happen.