By Lisa Ackerman
Dating? I never thought that this would ever be a title for a TACAnowblog. Somehow I knew the issue would come up some day, but how?
First, I am so happy to share this story. I know that the window never closes for our kids. Intervention can help at any age (1.)
In October 2011, a mom came to us looking for help for her 20-something year old son. He was making progress, but struggling with some major issues. The primary issues were on-going seizure activity, depression, and short term memory problems. It all starts with feeling well and he just wasn’t.
It had been some years since their last doctor’s visit, and due to personal circumstances, it wasn’t something she could do. Based on her application, TACA was able to fund her medical scholarship to help her son’s needs (2.) The scholarship included time with a doctor that would work with her, her son’s medical history, and review of current issues. They devised a treatment plan that only lowered her sons ATEC score by three points but made a dramatic difference.
Before I get to the good news – What’s an ATEC? The Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC) is a great tool for clinicians and parents to evaluate treatments based on autistic symptoms. ATEC scores collected from thousands of families yield important clues to common treatments for ASD (3.) Parents can run this test and score their child based on treatments and/or annual review of their child’s progress. At TACA, we consider running annual ATEC scores on your child a good practice.
Now – let’s go back to this case. The outcome for this one kid – at age 20-something was huge. Instead of suffering from multiple seizures each day, he now goes 8-10 days without a seizure. His appetite has improved and he has gained some much needed weight. After his appetite improved, he began sleeping more and in just a few months, he started feeling much better. Not only have the depression and short-term memory challenges greatly improved, mom says that he is speaking more and constantly surprising her with his knowledge and wisdom.
But wait, there’s more. The most impactful significance for this young man was simple: a first date and a first kiss. While many young men take this step into manhood for granted, we know this can be a huge struggle for some on the autism spectrum. Mom’s email to update us at TACA had me over the moon with her son’s progress. I just had to share:
My son has greatly improved in many areas, especially socially. The biggest change we made is fine tuning his supplement amounts based on new lab results. I also followed doctor’s orders and made sure he gets enough rest and not pushing his energy levels.
What is exciting is my son has taken a new interest in dating and this month he received his 1st kiss. He is still doing well on strict SCD Diet.
In the past month, both friends and relatives have commented on his more outgoing personality and better ability to communicate on the phone. He has grown into a strong, healthy young man.
Now we have more laughter in the house. And I have a son that is now dating. Thank you TACA for our family grant. With sincere appreciation – Janice
While I know we all want our kids to have significant relationships, please don’t look to TACA to start an on-line dating service for our kids as a new program! We are just extremely excited to share this great outcome! For this family, updated treatments and doctor review made a big difference. Again, autism is truly treatable and the window for some of the families we serve DOES NOT CLOSE!
Proud mom Janice and her son
1) The window never closes: http://www.tacanow.org/family-resources/does-the-window-ever-close/
2) Hope by the numbers https://tacanowblog.com/2012/01/11/hope-by-the-numbers/ and Family scholarship program http://www.tacanow.org/about-taca/family-scholarship-program/
3) ATEC: http://www.autism.com/ind_atec.asp
LOL- that is so awesome, but I also can’t help thinking how much this boy would LOVE (not!) knowing that all of these autism moms now know about his first kiss and that we’re all saying “Awwww!” at the same time!