Making words count

As I prepare a short testimonial to present in the Senate hearing tomorrow, I am noticing the amazing progress in Mateo each day. There is so much that I want to say, I am not sure what points will make the most impact.  I want my words to be heard, I want them to see how important these services are, and how cutting them is taking away so much. I want to represent Mateo and all of the children, teenagers and adults on the Autistic Spectrum and how without early intervention services we are risking their future.  But how do I get this across?

People may think we are over-exaggerating, that cutting some money from programs won’t make such a difference. They say cut backs need to be made. But these are people that do not understand that my son has therapy and school with a therapist from 9am – 3:30pm every day, and that those hours of therapy have given him a voice, taught him how to play, how to ask for a drink, how to tell me what he wants for breakfast and ultimately taking away his frustrations and helping him to have a happy childhood. There is so much research proving Early Intervention Therapy is the key to success, as their brain is developing . Taken from :

“Infant brains are quite malleable so with this therapy we’re trying to capitalize on the potential of learning that an infant brain has in order to limit autism’s deleterious effects, to help children lead better lives,” said Sally Rogers, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, a study co-author and a researcher at the University of California, Davis, MIND Institute in Sacramento, Calif.

“To help children lead better lives”…I think that says it all. Everyone that has known Mateo since he was diagnosed at 2 1/2 is amazed by his progress.  They say, “he will be OK”. But they don’t know all of the hard work that got him there, the hours of therapy and the work that Reuben and I have put into every day to get him there.  We could not do it alone.  That other children like Mateo will never be able to talk, but with technology today and therapy they can still attend Typical schools and graduate high school and go to college. But it takes professional help. We cannot do it alone.

As I left the house to take Maya to school Mateo said to me, “Bye Mom, See you later!” And he said, “Bye, bye Maya!!”

Those words, all of those words! It brings tears to my eyes. But he’s repeating what he’s heard over and over.  I always say “See you later” every time I leave the house.  To a person just walking bye it would seem very natural.  But each of those words have taken hours and hours of therapy for him to be able to communicate them.  But to me, they are still words, and I am so thankful every time I hear a new word or a new sentence!

So friends I am wondering….What would impact you the most about Mateo’s Story that I can share tomorrow?

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