Did you know ...
-Autism now affects 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys
-Autism prevalence figures are growing
-Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
-Autism costs a family $60,000 a year on average
-Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism
-Autism treatments are not covered by insurance in Utah and 17 other states.
Many of you may not know but Weston was recently diagnosed with autism. He shows great potential in some areas and is very behind in a lot of areas of his mental development. With Autism a child can and likely will regress without the proper therapy. Weston remains non-verbal, has sleeping problems, throws his head on the floor often hurting himself. His mental development is like a one year old and in many ways worse than a one year old. Further we can see a severe increase in his level of frustration, crying and tantrums have become constant. We are blessed that he will look at us, let us touch him, smile at us, and it melts my heart when he gives me a hug. Those abilities without therapy could and often do decrease. We have already seen him loose the ability to say all the words he used to say. The thought of my child never being able to say "I love you" or allow me to hold him is heartbreaking. With the proper amount of therapy he has a great chance of living a normal life.
Autism is a "neurodevelopmental" disorder, which affects how information is processed in the brain. It is a "spectrum disorder" meaning it affects each person in different ways, and can range from very mild to severe. His severity is unknown at this point.
Early identification and early intervention are key because certain developmental skills must be learned during critical periods of brain development.
One therapy that has been shown to be effective for many children with autism is applied behavioral analysis (ABA). ABA is considered an evidence-based "best" practice treatment by the US Surgeon General and by the American Psychological Association. "Evidence based" means that ABA has passed scientific tests of its usefulness, quality, and effectiveness.
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD said "an autistic child needs ONE-TO-ONE TEACHING. IT CANNOT BE JUST ANY TEACHING. IT MUST BE CONDUCTED BY SPECIALLY TRAINED PEOPLE. Every skill has to be broken down into the tiniest possible steps, manageable for an autistic mind. A normal child learns every minute he or she is awake, so the teaching has to go on for as many hours a day as possible, every day. We must not forget the sense of urgency if your child stands any chance of catching up with the same age typical developing child.
Scientific studies have shown that with Early Intensive Intervention with ABA therapy, a very high percentage by school age will have a normal IQ and successfully perform at mainstream schools. You can read all about the study at http://thelovaascenter.com.
We are currently working with a place called Autism Journey. After many hours of analyzing him they recommended 20 hours of ABA therapy/Speech therapy. They believe this is necessary for Weston's development. His therapy would cost us $4,000 a month and $48,000 a year. From outside gernerous donation and what we can afford ouselves each mouth, we are short $18,000 which is $1,500 a month.
Despite the expense we are determined to do what is best for Weston. We are trying to do some of the therapy on our own due to lack of money. We have been adviced that by taking on this task the family will suffer. Siblings suffer due to lack of attention. Westons will also suffer due to the lack our knowledge and the quality of therapy will greatly decrease.
Please consider helping us afford this life changing therapy. Every little bit counts.
Want to learn more about autism? Check out www.autismspeaks.org
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