Receiving an Autism Spectrum Diagnosis
I had been waiting for this day for exactly four weeks. In Ethan’s psychological evaluation, the doctor had said he met the criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder. We weren’t exactly sure what the level of severity was, but we knew he was most impacted in the area of social communication. When we went to the Harbor Regional Center on March 14 to hear the full report, Ethan received a diagnosis of Provisional Autism, Level 1. He was again diagnosed with global developmental delays. She said that Ethan exhibited a lot of the symptoms of ASD, but they were moderate, and he had a sweet demeanor. She also said that she wanted him re-tested in a year and he’s still so young, hence the provisional diagnosis. She recommended ABA, OT, PT and speech. Ethan is already doing the other therapies so we just had to add ABA. I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I could finally start searching for an ABA therapy provider and I had a better idea of what to expect in the next few years. I had no idea how we were going to make it fit in his already packed schedule, but somehow we’re gonna make it work.
Search for an ABA provider
The rest of the day was just spent making phone calls, filling out contact forms, and sending emails. I was determined to find an ABA provider, and fast. The good thing is there are a lot of providers within just a 5 mile radius from where I live. Torrance is the mecca for programs for developmental disabilities! I learned about 6 month-1 year waitlists, although I am in contact with a provider that has availability from 7:30am-3:00pm Monday-Friday. At first, I was determined to get the after 4pm time slot because of Ethan’s nap time, but it seems we would have to wait a long time to get that slot. I am now open to moving his nap time to 3pm just so he can get the ABA. I felt like I was racing against time, that if we had this done as soon as possible, Ethan would fare better next year, or even for the rest of his life! I am battling some anxiety, but I know the intake process can be long and tedious as I had went through before when getting him started on his OT, PT and speech.
I heard varying things about ABA; there is currently a lot of criticism for this method of treating autism, yet it is the only one proven to work. I am optimistic about the impact it can make in my son’s life because of what I’ve heard about it from experienced autism parents and autism treatment professionals. I also heard there can be good ABA and bad ABA, and it’s just a matter of getting connected to a good program and ABA therapist. I am trying to do as much research as possible and contacting as much good companies as possible, and just praying that we get the right ABA therapist and company.
Update: A week has passed…
Update: It’s been a week since I started this blog post, and I’ve narrowed it down to two providers, starting with an insurance provider search, a lot of poking around online, looking at websites, online forums for autism parents, employee and customer reviews, tons of phone calls and interviewing, reading books and watching videos about ABA. I’ve spoken and emailed with clinical directors and BCBAs. It’s going to be a tough decision, but I’m gonna go with my gut. I know in my heart that we will avoid a lot of heartache if we go with the right company.