It is official, we no longer have the support of our ABA provider that we have had for the past 4 years. It is really hard to believe that my husband and I are officially on our own to help our son foster and grow into an independent young man. The progress Mateo made over those 4 years is astonishing and we definitely owe so much of that to the support of all of the ABA therapists (we called them tutors) who came in and out of our home and taught Mateo and our family so much. So I wanted to write them a letter to tell them how much I appreciate them.
An open letter to our ABA Company (They know who they are):
Dear ABA Tutors, Leads, Consultants and Supervisors,
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for giving my son a voice and way to communicate when he was almost 3 and had so little words. You taught him and us about PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), and with PECS Mateo could tell us that he wanted Chocolate Milk, a sandwich, squeezes and his favorite card of all Candy. His meltdowns went from about 20 a day to very few, and his words began to flow. It was the best gift I have ever received.
Thank you for coming over every day and playing with Mateo, for always showing him love and compassion and teaching him how to play nicely with his sister, how to take turns with his friends and most of all making his therapy an enjoyable experience for us all. Our home was always filled with squeals of laughter, the tromping of feet and the imaginative play of Skippasaurus and the chugging of Thomas Trains.
Thank you for teaching us how to handle the meltdowns, how to stay strong and not meltdown myself. How to take each day, day by day and how to always focus on the positives. How to reward the good behavior and ignore the bad. How to never give up during hours of potty training when we saw no hope. How to always notice the progress no matter how small it was, and be thankful for each hurdle we conquered. And we conquered a lot.
I will never forget the Throw Card, because when Mateo was done with a lesson he would just start throwing cards, so they made him his own throw card when he was frustrated. I will never forget the sound of the timer going off to keep him on track, the Mickey Mouse treasure chart to track his rewards. The hours and hours of blanket swings, hide and seek, cardboard rockets, dinosaurs, puzzles, games like Balloon Lagoon and hunting for treasure as pirates. I will never forget the 4 years of incredible memories that you all created in our home.
Most of all thank you for taking this job which does not pay near enough for all that you do. You make such a huge difference in each child’s life and for each family. You are teachers, therapists (for kids and parents), and friends.
Here is the chart that shows how far Mateo progressed from diagnosis to today. It is incredible, and we are so thankful for that amazing gift. We will never forget it or forget all of you. I wish that there was more that we could give you in return, but just know how special you all are to us all.
The Pink line shows where he started when he was evaluated just before he was 3 and the top line is where he is today!