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Family of the Month: “Axl’s Story”

This month we are sharing the story of Axl Clevenger who receives services at Autism ETC – Nashville. Axl lives with his family which includes his mom, Brittany Patterson, his dad, Joshua Clevenger, his brother Jordan along with his grandmother and aunt. Brittany shared Axl’s story:

Brittany began, “Axl was developing as a typical child saying words and interacting with people around him until his second birthday. At that time, he stopped talking and began to regress. He also began to have problems interacting with others. He was fine when he was home, but if we went to visit my family, go to the grocery store or go to the doctor’s office, he would scream and cry. I did not understand why this was happening. It was recommended that I have his hearing tested. When his hearing test came back normal, it was suggested that I have Axl tested to see if he was on the autism spectrum. I was completely unfamiliar with autism so I began to do research online. I found Autism ETC’s site and contacted the center in January, 2022. Axl was scheduled for psychological testing with Dr. Michelle McAtee. In April, 2022, Dr. McAtee diagnosed Axl as having autism. Dr. McAtee was kind and explained things to me which was helpful so I could understand what I needed to do next.”

Brittany continued, “Axl was on the waiting list for ABA therapy and in May, 2022, he began services. Axl attends the Day Therapy Program on a full-time basis. When Axl began coming to the center, I was anxious since he was only 2 years old. At the same time, I was excited and happy for him to begin services and I wanted to see how he was going to respond. His BCBA, Melissa Guthrie and the staff who work with him are amazing. Axl has made a miraculous turn-around. Since Axl has been coming to the center, he has become more vocal. He says ‘momma’, ‘bubba’, and is working on ‘daddy’. He is able to match colors and work shape puzzles. He is working on his potty training and is doing good with that. Axl has met several of his goals. Melissa and the team have expressed to me they are amazed at his progress and how quickly he catches on to things. Axl is able to go to the grocery store and doctor’s office without screaming and crying. He enjoys interacting with people and visiting with family. My brother recently told me he was amazed that Axl actually came to him and let him hold him. It is exciting to see his miraculous turn-around.”

Brittany concluded by saying, “Axl’s BCBA, Melissa and her team have been so helpful to me. They have explained how I can teach Axl and help him. They tell me each day how he has done and what he has accomplished. As I think about Axl’s future I know he will continue to make progress with communicating and learning new things and I believe he will do well in school.”