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Family of the Month: “Isaiah’s Story”

In 2020, Isaiah Collins and his family moved to Arizona due to a job opportunity for his dad. His grandmother, who lives in the area, began to do research to find an autism center that could provide services for Isaiah. In her search she contacted Autism ETC. This occurred a few months before Autism ETC opened the center in Glendale. Isaiah became Autism ETC – Glendale’s first client. Isaiah’s family includes Corbin, dad, Rachel, mom, Enzo, his older brother and Jaxxon his younger brother.

Corbin shares Isaiah’s story: “We were living in Washington state when Isaiah began to receive early intervention services when he was two years old. This was due to Isaiah showing various signs and symptoms that pointed to him being on the autism spectrum. This was during the time of Covid and the only services Isaiah was able to receive was by video and he appeared to make minimal progress. This made me somewhat skeptical even though the therapists who were working with Isaiah told us he would improve. When we moved to Arizona, my wife was in the 7th month of her pregnancy with Isaiah’s younger brother and I was starting a new job. Kayla Ziolko, Autism ETC Glendale’s Clinical Manager met with us in our home to discuss services since the center had not opened yet.”

Corbin continues, “In January, 2021, Isaiah started coming to the center. Prior to attending Autism ETC, Isaiah was not into routines. He would have aggressive behaviors which included self-injurious behaviors and he was non-verbal. He was very engaged with using a tablet. I was hoping that coming to the center would help Isaiah, but I was very skeptical and I did not know what to expect. With Isaiah being the first client at the center he was definitely getting one-on-one attention from all of the staff. I could see that Kayla and staff truly cared for Isaiah. Within 6 months I saw the progress Isaiah was making. Isaiah’s attitude changed and it was evident he wanted to come to the center as he was getting the care that he needed. Previously I had seen him regress when we were living in Washington state, but now he was making progress. He is a completely different kid.”

Corbin went on to discuss Isaiah’s progress. “I can’t tell you how much Autism ETC has done for Isaiah. I wish we had videos of how Isaiah was before he started coming and now because I barely remember the child he was before. He has learned to match items and has made progress with being able to communicate his wants and needs. He is mouthing different sounds and occasionally I will hear him say ‘daddy’ and ‘momma’. He has made great progress with potty training that has been huge for him. Isaiah has used a PECS system to help with communicating and we are in the process of getting him an AAC device which he is already learning how to use at Autism ETC and at speech therapy.”

When asked about the training for the family offered by Autism ETC, Corbin said, “Kayla and the staff have helped us with various issues. Isaiah had problems when the family wanted to watch a movie. Kayla came to the house and observed this and helped us with this issue so we know how to re-direct Isaiah and this is no longer a problem. Isaiah had issues with throwing food on the floor when we ate. The staff worked with Isaiah on this and that does not happen anymore.”

Corbin would share these words of advice with other families: “Trust the process. I was skeptical and did not believe Isaiah would improve, but after 3 months of seeing how much the staff worked with Isaiah and cared about seeing him improve, I could see Isaiah was progressing. Therapy may seem like a long-shot, but it isn’t. The quicker you can get your child started, the better.”

Looking to future, Corbin said, “I believe Isaiah has a very bright future. Today we were talking to Kayla about Isaiah beginning school in September. I see that Isaiah has an interest in electronics. Recently the staff at the center received iPads and they could not figure out how to do a split screen. One of the staff handed the iPad to Isaiah and he figured it out for them and now they can do a split screen!”