Rhoni Golden knows how much ATC’s services mean to families. Her son, Gray was diagnosed with autism when he was 19 months old and, by the time he was 4, Rhoni knew it was severe.
Going out into the community with his parents and two sisters was impossible because of his challenging behaviors. Life at home was stressful, too. Gray couldn’t communicate with words so he often threw tantrums to express his frustrations. His therapists worked with him to use pictures to communicate, but he got distracted by the paper and wouldn’t even look at the images.
Things began to turn around for Gray and his family when Rhoni decided to try an iPad with a special app as a communication device. It wasn’t easy, but eventually Gray was able to let the people around him know what he wanted and needed using technology.
Today, Gray is 15 and attends ATC for school, Speech, and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. He still has challenges to overcome, but life is very different for him and his family thanks to his mother’s determination to tap into every available resource to help him. “Consistent ABA therapy at home and at school has been a game changer for our family,” says Rhoni. “Gray has learned clear boundaries around acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. He has learned to control his impulses, wait, accept “no” for an answer, and use his communication device to make appropriate requests and choices. As he has grown older, the skills Gray learned as a young child are immensely helpful in making him a functional part of our family unit. Because of ABA, we can have family dinners at the table. We can go on road trips and airplanes for vacations. We can eat out at restaurants and go to the movies.”