For April’s family of the month, we would like to feature the story of a family who receives services at our Glendale, Arizona clinic. The Roy family includes Sabyasachi Roy, (dad), Sreeja Roy, (mom), Aarohi Roy (sister) and Aditya Roy. Sreeja began sharing their story. “Aditya, who they affectionally call Adi, was not developing like typical children in his age group. He had a lot of repetitious movements, head banging, delayed speech and he was unable to communicate like other children his age. He was evaluated by the State and the school system and began receiving speech therapy services part-time to help with his language development. He was making limited progress so we had him evaluated by his pediatrician. He was diagnosed when he was 3 years old.”
Sreeja continued, “His issues with social communication and speech caused us to seek more help. I began a search to find services for Adi and I checked with various autism centers in the valley. When I contacted Autism ETC, they returned my call. Adi was soon scheduled for an assessment with Kayla Ziolko, Clinical Manager for the center. We could see that Adi liked coming to Autism ETC and we moved forward with starting services.”
Adi started services in July, 2021. Sreeja went on to share, “Before we started services, Adi was 1 year behind peers of his age group for speech. He could not communicate in group play or interact with other children. He unable to communicate his needs like other children which led to aggressive behavior and daily tantrums. We were just unable to help him.”
“The first few weeks of coming to the center was an adjustment for Adi,” said Sreeja. “Kayla and the staff took time getting to know Adi. They engaged with him with games and toys. They learned about his obsession with cars and invested time in engaging with him through imaginative play. Through positive reinforcement and play-work-play routine, Adi completed his tasks and reached one milestone after another. Kayla took a lot of interest working with Adi and personalized the therapy for him. Adi is a special child who can be both social and an introvert and when he sets his mind to do something, he does it”
Sreeja shared more about how the family training sessions have helped her family and Adi. “I was able to observe him at Autism ETC with his therapists and peers. Kayla has taught Adi how to deal with problem behaviors. When we would go into a public place, Adi would take off running. Kayla came up with a list of coping skills and ways to deal with behavioral issues. This has helped him not to have melt downs but to have appropriate behaviors. Kayla has also made several home visits so she could observe Adi’s behavior in the home with his younger sister. She had his dad and me work with Adi so she could observe and offer guidance and support.
Discussing Adi’s progress, Sreeja said, “We noticed a difference with Adi within a month or two from when he started at Autism ETC. He loves going to the center. His vocabulary is now in line with peers that are his age. He is doing good at assigned tasks and can interact with others. He is also able to narrate an event. He can tell me about his day and we can have a real conversation: this is something I couldn’t imagine when Adi started therapy. He also has superhero favorites and he can tell me what he likes about them. I see Adi evolving into his full potential. He is going to graduate therapy in a few months and will be starting school this summer. He has learned how to deal with his stemming behaviors and has learned coping skills he uses on a daily basis.”
When asked about the advice she would share with other parents who have a child with autism, Sreeja said, “Look for help. You will find it. There is a big community of parents with children on the spectrum. You have to look and ask for help. Do not give up on your child. Know when you need help and ask for it.”
Looking to the future, Sreeja said, “The skills Adi has received at Autism ETC has established a foundation that will impact the rest of his life. He has met wonderful people at the center and has built life-long relationships. His experience at Autism ETC has changed his life.”