A Letter of Thanks to My Son’s Autism Center

December 17, 2018

To the Faculty & Staff of Applied Behavior Center for Autism,

When I got the call from the preschool where my son was attending and was told they couldn’t meet his needs anymore, I was devasted. At that point, he had been diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech and ADHD. I knew he had learning differences, but I didn’t realize it meant he couldn’t be successful with his same-age peers. As tough as it was to get that call, I now see it was a blessing because it brought us to Applied Behavior Center. During my initial call to ABC, I spoke with Nicole, the clinical director. She explained to me in a way that I could understand what Applied Behavior Analysis was and how it might help my son. I met with her and Ariel, the Administrative and Clinical Assistant, and toured the facility. I was blown away. The passion and professionalism of every staff member I met really touched me. The facility was immaculate, and the children happy. From the first moment I stepped foot into ABC, I knew this was where my son needed to be.

At that time, he had not yet been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. However, deep down, I knew he most likely was, and he needed the diagnosis to attend for insurance purposes. I made him another appointment with his developmental pediatrician, who did diagnose him with ASD. Once we got the diagnosis, everyone at ABC worked so hard to help me get him enrolled. I’ll forever be so grateful.

To me, what my son has experienced since attending ABC is an awakening. Before ABC, he was mostly nonverbal. His primary form of communication was sign language. He’s now using words to ask for what he wants. He also didn’t seem to want to engage with others. He’s now asking me to watch him do things. He’s asking me to play with him. It’s amazing! I know we still have obstacles to overcome. But now I feel hope. I know that ABC will stop at nothing to help him achieve his potential, and it’ll be done in a way that respects what he truly is capable of.
Every single staff member, from Venice and the office staff to the directors, Nicole and Ariel, to the owners Bobbi and Hyndi, to each amazing therapist, assistant, and substitute, I literally cannot praise enough.

I just want you to know that to me, to my son, to my family, you are an essential piece of what will become my son’s history. You will be part of the stories we will tell for years to come. Stories of his hard-earned successes and triumphs. We will forever be advocates for ABA therapy. We will forever have a deep respect for people that choose to spend their lives helping children, like my son, overcome challenges and be the best version of them possible.

I hope this holiday season, you feel the appreciation and respect my family has for each of you. When I think of what I am most thankful at this moment, without a doubt, it is ABC for Autism and all the wonderful people who make miracles happen every day for children like my son.

Happy Holidays!
The Nielsen Family

All kids needs is a little help, a little hope, and someone who believes in them. – Magic Johnson

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Amy Nielsen lives in Orlando, Florida. She is the proud mother of four children ranging in age from 5-33! She and her husband, Brent enjoy sports and traveling. Amy is a former teacher with nearly 20 years of experience, a freelance writer, and a special needs advocate. Her mission is to help educate and empower families of children with disabilities to focus on their child's interests and strengths.