After Our Diagnosis
When my son was diagnosed at the age of 18 months it felt as though our life had been torn apart. The intense feelings we went through over the first year had us on an up and down roller coaster. I know that for weeks both my husband and I cried a lot. Being the researcher I was (and still am) I began to read everything I could online and in print, which at that time was not a very large list. Within that first 6 months I would meet a FEAT-NT Board Member who encouraged me to become involved and to learn as much as I could about Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and running a home program. Hence, our journey of early intervention began.
Our pediatrician did not really refer us to anyone except Early Childhood Intervention. To our luck, our wonderful MHMR Tarrant County ECI team embraced everything we were learning on our own about ABA. I purchased Behavioral Interventions for Young Children with Autism by Catherine Maurice and asked that our ECI team work on goals from the book. I attended FEAT-NT and other autism workshops and conferences every chance I got. FEAT-NT was very critical in guiding me to effective autism treatment in our journey. In fact, FEAT-NT was virtually the only autism organization of its type in Tarrant County back in that day.
My son and our growing family would embark on many years of therapy, always making time for being a family and being sillyJ Our therapy programs changed from time to time. Our IEP goals and related autism services changed as well. There has always been so much to do and so much to learn and doing it with others from the autism community helped keep me sane. My son is now in Middle School and spends a large portion of his day in a general education class with support and modifications. He is fairly conversational, funny, extremely bright and always interesting. We have been blessed.
Finding out your child has autism is such a hard thing to face and can often make you feel alone. I was so thankful to have FEAT-NT at that time. It is important to be connected with other families, continue to read, be informed and to be involved in your child’s progress. You will learn to be your child’s best advocate. Of course, autism is about so much more than just intervention. My son being diagnosed with autism has taught me so much. It has given me a better understanding of acceptance, facing challenges, perseverance and love.
The journey through autism I’ve experienced thus far has been a little easier because of the learning opportunities, friends met, support and experiences I’ve had being a part of the North Texas autism community. I hope that you find support and guidance in your discovery and journey through autism through our website, the autism community and through Families for Effective Autism Treatment-North Texas (FEAT-NT) programs and events.
With You Every Step of the Way,
Laurie Snyder, President of FEAT-NT
Laurie Snyder is the current President of FEAT-NT and has been a board member for over 10years. She has three children, a son with autism who is nearly 14. As the Board President, Laurie’s primary goal is to help FEAT-NT reach its potential of being a vital community resource for individuals and families affected by autism spectrum disorders by expanding services and outreach. Laurie has a heart for families in need who are not able to secure private therapy due to family circumstances. Her desire is to see that all children with ASD receive the proper treatment they need by empowering those who teach them with information. Laurie speaks at various autism community events, was a 2010 recipient of a North Tarrant County Hometown Hero award, is an Executive Council Member of the Tarrant County IDD Council and has been on the Autism Advisory Board of Directors for North Texas Easter Seals.