My two year old, Daniel, started mainstream preschool at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year. At the start of the school year in August 2018, Daniel was still not talking, wasn’t using gestures and wasn’t pointing at objects. I believed the preschool environment would help develop his communication skills. Instead, the preschool environment brought to light other developmental concerns that Daniel was exhibiting. Daniel not only had problems communicating but also participating in any of the day-to-day routines in the preschool classroom. He wouldn’t interact with other students, couldn’t transition between activities and could rarely be calmed down by any of the staff members.
After having multiply conversations with the staff at his preschool and our doctor, the word "autism" was brought to my attention. I spent countless number of hours making phone calls, doing research online and reading as many books as I could get my hands on. And one day, Arts ‘n Autism, came across my computer screen. I called the school that afternoon and by the end of that week, Daniel was registered for Arts ‘n Autism ILEAP program.
The whole staff at Arts ‘n Autism is remarkable – they have always made me feel so comfortable and welcome. Specifically, Lauren Ellis, Daniel’s ILEAP teacher, has been a gem. She is patient, sweet and dedicated to her students. She is not only concerned about developing Daniel’s skills but also about involving the family in the process and making sure we are all working together, like a family to help Daniel in any way we can. In the short time Daniel has been going to ILEAP, I have seen a huge transformation.
His personality and confidence have come to life since he started. He is communicating with us at home, even gesturing and pointing. He is interacting with his 5 year old brother, playing and laughing. He is more relaxed during transitional periods and is much more engaged in day to day activities.
Arts ‘n Autism entered our lives at a time when we were lost, confused and full of questions and concerns.
A parent only wants what is best for their child and I didn’t know what that meant for Daniel. But ILEAP has been an instrumental foundation of knowledge, hope and encouragement for our family and for our fun, full of life, silly Daniel who bounces up and down in his sit every morning as we pull up to ILEAP and screams “School! School!”