Although Joaquin had been receiving autism therapy services from another provider for over two years, things were not improving until the family changed direction and began receiving behavior services from Easterseals.
Joaquin’s father, Juan, is a police officer and his mother, Sara, is a special education teacher’s aide. The family also includes two older sisters. His parents were at their wit’s end when they arrived at Easterseals. “It’s heartbreaking to know your child is in distress and to witness the physical manifestations of that and not know what to do,” recalls Sarah. “We were all heartbroken and exhausted. You could cut the tension in our family with a knife.”
“To compare the original child to the child today is just incredible,” she continues about her son, who graduated from Easterseals services.
“Joaquin had sensory issues and was unable to communicate to get his needs and desires met, so he was frustrated. There were a lot of tantrums and he would bite and throw things,” she said.
“Where we had received services previously was very regimented and had a lot of rules about what we could and couldn’t do. He learned to identify the color red, but not how to live his life. Easterseals’ philosophy was, ‘Whatever is best for this particular individual, that’s what we’re going to do.’ That’s when the real progress started.”
Today, Joaquin is thriving. He’s graduated from behavioral services and is now receiving only speech therapy from Easterseals along with services provided by the school district. “Working with Easterseals really helped him become a part of our family, school and this world he’s living in,” smiles Sarah. “He learned to manage his behavior by gaining coping and functional language skills.”
“I am just a huge, huge, huge proponent of early intervention,” she says emphatically. “If you start early and really commit to it and work with a dedicated organization like Easterseals, the possibilities are endless.”