When Mia was adopted from China by her parents, Shannon and Michael, they knew she had health problems but were confident those could be treated when they got her to the states. Once home, they noticed other issues they hoped could be overcome with time and love. When frustrated, Mia would bang her head or hit her face with her fists. She didn’t speak and would swing her head back and forth. Over time, the behaviors became worse and a diagnosis confirmed she had severe autism.
A few weeks after Mia’s family moved to San Antonio in 2019, Michael and Shannon were told her new school couldn’t provide the extensive medical and educational supports she needed. The school offered three alternative placements and, after reviewing each option, Mia enrolled in the Autism Treatment Center’s year-round nonpublic school. It didn’t take long for her parents to know they made the right decision. Mia has learned to communicate using an electronic device and can express herself with the touch of a button. The most important thing Shannon and Michael have learned is that Mia can learn. “We can truly see her now,” Shannon says, “and not just her behaviors.”