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Family of the Month: “Daelyn’s Story”

“You have to trust the process. Change is not going to happen overnight.” This month, we feature Daelyn Bagwell. Daelyn is a 4-year-old who came to Autism ETC about a year ago. Here is his story.

After struggling to reach developmental milestones, Samantha Vandiver decided to have her son, Daelyn Bagwell, tested for autism at just 18 months old. He was non-verbal and had several behavioral issues, including self-harm. Even after trying other services for 2 years, Daelyn remained non-verbal. “His frustration led to more behavioral issues including getting over stimulated and hitting his head on things,” said Samantha. “I began to do research into ABA centers for children with autism and reached out to Autism ETC. I visited the center, and I liked what I saw. Sara Hibpshman, his BCBA made me feel comfortable. I had been hesitant about him starting ABA but I knew Daelyn needed more help. He was becoming aggressive at day care. I did not want him to become labeled because of his behavior. When I visited Autism ETC, I believed things could be different.”

Daelyn started receiving ABA services on a part-time basis, and is now attending the Day Therapy Program on a full-time basis. Daelyn is still non-verbal, but he is learning to use the PECS system so that he can communicate with others,” said Samantha. “He is finally able to communicate his wants and needs. He is able to work puzzles and play with building blocks. He is now able to sit and perform tasks rather than becoming frustrated. As a parent, I have learned to celebrate the small victories. I am learning to see the positives, and not compare his progress to anyone else.”

Samantha went on to say, “Starting ABA therapy, like anything new, can be scary as you are entering uncharted waters. I remember a speech therapist telling me I was taking Daelyn’s autism diagnosis well. My thought was, this is autism, not a life-threatening disease. Coming to Autism ETC has given me hope that Daelyn is going to continue to make progress. I am optimistic that things will get better along the way.”