Max, a 9-year-old boy, and his family have escaped from feeling hopeless to now finding healing and hope for a joyful future. Their journey of hope started 5 months ago when Max’s mother contacted the Family Wellness Center due to a referral from a previous family who had a child experiencing similar struggles. Max was displaying severe social and behavioral challenges at home and school. His parents suspected that he may have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Max’s mother was beyond frustrated due to her numerous contacts with various health care providers who never called back or completed an assessment for Max.
The Family Wellness Center immediately scheduled an initial consultation to identify skills and challenges, observe and interact with Max. Due to Max’s medical history and current challenges, Max was referred to the assessment team for additional diagnostic tests. Simultaneously, Max and his family began family therapy with one of the autism team therapists at the Family Wellness Center. It was soon discovered that Max’s behaviors were not representative of an unruly child. Rather, Max was displaying behaviors common to children on the autism spectrum as suspected during his initial consultation.
Max has made significant progress over the past months due to the individual and family therapy tailored to meet his and his family’s needs. Additionally, Max’s participation in a social skills group has contributed to his progress. Before receiving therapy and autism services at the Family Wellness Center, Max would have triggers and explode without knowing the reasons for his volatile reactions. Max is now more aware of his physiological sensory body responses and stressors, and able to articulate what his triggers are and how to address them.
Not only is Max advocating for himself better in sharing what his needs are, but also his parents through their family therapy sessions at the Family Wellness Center. Additionally, the Family Wellness Center team advocated for Max during his Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting in order to help his school better understand his autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. This collaboration has resulted in a positive partnership to ensure Max continues making strides not only at home and in the community, but also in his school environment.
Many lives have been touched by Max’s growth due to the Family Wellness Center’s clinical approaches which are evidence-based, family focused, strength-based, culturally relevant, and collaborative. Additionally, there has been room for compassion, communication, and knowledge to permeate within Max’s social circles in understanding the struggles of those on the autism spectrum. Such struggles of children on the autism spectrum can be easily misinterpreted as behavioral problems, especially when children like Max look and seems to be so typical and intelligent. The Family Wellness Center team knows what signs and challenges to look for that indicate that this is not just a “rude” and “problem child”, though rather a child that is experiencing some significant social learning and sensory challenges.
To learn more about our Family Wellness Center, please click here.
*The child’s name has been replaced in order to protect their identity.