As we celebrate Autism Acceptance Month, we thank Cara's family for sharing their story.
Most people think life stopped 13 months ago when the world found out about COVID. Our wakeup call was in September 2019, when our now 4-year-old daughter Cara was diagnosed with 'The A Word.' Cara is our sweet, loving, opinionated, happy, adventurous little girl – who just happens to be Autistic. It should not and will not define who she is.
The last few years have been a blur of therapies – PT, OT, Speech, ABA. You get the picture. As of February 2020, Cara was starting to say 3-word sentences. Progress was happening on all cylinders. Then came March 2020 – the time therapies were taken away. Within 2 weeks, speech was lost. By the end of April, she became feral. It was heartbreaking to say the least.
Cara's story is and will be one of resilience though, not pity. That's why we're sharing it. In October 2020, we found a new ABA therapy program at Marcfirst that was taking clients and we were so fortunate for Cara to be the first child enrolled. The change in mood was immediate & skills started to come back, the first week. We can't say enough about this program! It is an intense program (in a good way), consistent and customized to meet Cara's changing needs. Progress has improved 10-fold – the behavior change alone is nothing short of remarkable. In a COVID-19 world, Cara now consistently wears a mask – opening doors we thought had closed. She is potty trained, interacting/communicating with those around her, and genuinely happy. Marcfirst has brought our baby back to us. We cannot thank her team enough for what they have done. OT & Speech are also back – language and body coordination are continuing to evolve. It makes us hopeful for Cara's future. It takes a village for every child's development, and we've found ours in Marcfirst.
There's a push in the Autism community towards acceptance, rather than general awareness of the condition. It's a great goal, but most people don't get what Autism is. We've seen the looks from other parents at the playground – our hope is somewhere down the road, society gains awareness, understanding, patience and acceptance for those in her position. And genuine inclusion to happen.
Individuals on the Spectrum have a lot to offer – you just need to take some time, to understand their world.
Welcome to Lifelong Access.
You may know us as Marcfirst, but we've recently undergone a name change. Why? Because in every phase of life, it’s never a question of if we helped. It’s how we help that truly counts. And how much we helped. Because our clients never outgrow us. And, we never outgrow them. Hence, our new name: Lifelong Access.