We were very fortunate that Matthew was eligible and approved for the early intervention programs funded by the state. I remember feeling encouraged that he was getting services and special attention for his autism diagnoses. When you are charting unfamiliar territory for the first time you must put your faith and trust in others and you are always hoping that each day builds upon the next and that with all the resources being made available to us that progress will be certain and consistent. I remember feeling very appreciative that our son was considered and provided these services. We were always treated nicely by the staff working on Matthew’s case and we were fortunate to have home visitation for the first 2 years. I remember a couple of visits with the assigned teachers as I was usually at work when the sessions were conducted. My wife would be home with Matthew in his first few years and she would be home when the staff would visit. I made it a point to take a vacation day here and there so I would be home for a few visits and see how Matthew was progressing. It was a one on one session with Matthew and his teacher. The teachers that came to the house over the first couple of years were women and they were very dedicated and very friendly. I remember on one occasion when the teacher came to visit Matthew she would be so excited on her arrival and she would address him by his name and she had a tape/cd player where she would play music to him and she would pronounce words and speak to him and mouth words with him. She also used a lot of visual cues and picture books to help him with learning and developing vocabulary. She would always start the session with the ABC song and she had Matthew sing with her. He seemed to be responsive when he was having a good day but sometimes he would be very cranky and the teachers would have to plan for those difficult times as autistic children can be very unpredictable from one day to the next. We were always informed how the session went because the teacher would keep a log book where she would explain what her session focussed on and how Matthew interacted and followed instruction. We would read the daily entries and provide feedback and raise questions.
Matthew seemed to enjoy the visits and we felt that they were very important in his growth and development. All the teachers that worked with Matthew all indicated that he is a very bright boy and is on the spectrum where he is considered high functioning. As Matthew approached his 3rd year he seemed to be developing more of a vocabulary and he was singing songs and showing an eagerness to learn and explore. He was so cute in his interactions with his teachers and they all fell in love with him and seemed to take a personal interest in his development.
As parents of a special needs child there are so many concerns and questions regarding your child’s stages of development. We knew we were on the right track with the Early Intervention Programs and the trained and dedicated teachers. We learned to take one day at a time and to have a lot of patience and to always be proactive with Matthew’s training with the Early Intervention teachers always expressing any concerns or questions we had. The teachers were all so very accomodating and very helpful.