My name is Barclay. I am four years old and have Autism Spectrum Disorder. My mom is going to tell you the story of my diagnosis. I need to share this because I hope all children who have autism can get the help they need to be happy like me!
Barclay’s Autism Diagnosis Story
At age 2, Barclay was diagnosed with a speech disorder called Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS). At age 2 1/2, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) became diagnosis number two. By age 3, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) became his third diagnosis.
I remember the day we took Barclay to his developmental pediatrician for the autism evaluation. We were crossing our fingers; he would get the diagnosis. That may sound the opposite of what parents would want to hear, but in our case, the diagnosis would be a blessing!
Before the ASD diagnosis, I had a phone call with the director of Barclay’s preschool. She told me, as gently as she could, they could no longer fill his needs. It was tough to hear, but I totally understood.
Because of his severe language delay, he couldn’t communicate with his teachers. They couldn’t understand him, and he couldn’t understand them. It was frustrating on both ends.
Also, because of his extreme impulsivity due to his ADHD, having him in a typical preschool setting was no longer working. He would run away from his teacher. He had difficulty focusing on structured activities. He played very aggressively with his peers, and this was just some of the challenges.
I knew Barclay needed to be around other children to help develop his lagging social and communication skills. I also knew, because of those lagging skills, that I wouldn’t find what he needed in a typical preschool setting. I began searching for alternative programs.
I found a local school that used Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for children who had ASD and related disorders. It was a 30 hour per week intensive program that offered a one to one student to therapist ratio. It was perfect, and because of Barclay’s recent ASD diagnosis, he met the criteria for the program.
ABA therapy is a scientifically-based approach to help children replace undesired behaviors with desired. Therapists look for ways to use what motivates children to encourage positive results. I cannot say enough fantastic things about ABA therapy. The results have been miraculous!
The ASD diagnosis opened the world up to our son by allowing him the support he so desperately needed. His amazing team of therapists is helping Barclay learn social skills like how to share with his peers and to be safe walking in a parking lot. They are working on his communication skills, and he’s finally learning to use three-word sentences when asking for something and to be part of a conversation. These things have made an enormous positive impact on our entire family, and we are so grateful! We can’t wait to see where Barclay’s autism journey goes from here because so far, the sky is the limit!
If they can’t learn the way we teach, we teach the way they learn. – Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas