Reach’s Special Needs & Autism Success Stories
McCafferty Family Story 2017
Sean McCafferty is a young man who shares details of his full life achieved through the effectiveness of early intervention services from REACH for his autism diagnosis. From recreational pursuits of snowboarding and attending movies with friends to his work as an apprentice auto mechanic, Sean recounts how his life is enjoyable and fulfilling.
Mom Marcia describes what led to Sean’s initial diagnosis. She noticed a dramatic difference at a mom and tot group when Sean was two. While the other toddlers interacted with the toys and each other, Sean did not participate. It was a wake up call, she shared how she didn’t know if Sean would ever talk at that point. Unsure of what to do, a neighbour mentioned services available at REACH.
Marcia made contact with REACH and in the first session, she saw a difference in how the therapist was able to interact with her son. He was learning right away and she saw the adaptations that could be made to cultivate Sean’s skills. Today, Marcia knows that Sean will do well in his future. She looks at Sean and sees how successful he is and she thanks REACH for the large part their services played in this success. Marcia felt very strongly about giving back and volunteers with REACH on the society board of directors and also established and runs FINDS Children’s Exchange, the non-profit’s social enterprise.
The Baker Family 2015
The Baker family share their journey with son Ethan, who has autism. Their story starts out with hearing from Ethan’s dad, Cory, who says he and his wife Michelle always knew something was wrong but didn’t know what it was. The Bakers had no idea what to do. Due to a lack of resources and understanding of about his condition, they felt like there were no answers and were devastated.
Ethan’s biggest developmental delay was with his social skills. He had friends at school but didn’t know how to interact with them appropriately; for instance, he had trouble maintaining eye contact. The family took separate vacations because of the challenges they faced with Ethan and they just wanted their son to be normal like the other kids.
After seeking help from REACH, the Bakers came to terms about his condition. REACH set up a meeting with the family and their team of professionals to assess Ethan’s needs. After taking some time to get to know him, a custom individualized home and school program was created for Ethan. REACH worked closely with the family and the school to keep everyone on the same page.
During a recent Disneyland vacation, Ethan was well behaved and calm in the lineups. Michelle got a tear in her eye because she could see that her son has changed. Over the last two years Ethan’s parents have seen his abilities improve and are hopeful about his future.
Myles of Courage: A Story of Autism
Myles was a bubbly baby and then suddenly at age two, it was like a curtain dropped and his behaviour changed completely. His mom, Anita, immediately sought answers as to why he was now sitting in the corner all by himself and was not responsive to sounds. Sunnyhill Hospital diagnosed Myles with high functioning autism.
Myles recounts feeling a sense of relief upon receiving an autism diagnosis because he now understood why he would engage in certain behaviours and he could explain to others. Because there was no government funding for help with autism back then, Myles’ parents Anita and Brad took on additional jobs to get him the help he needed. Mom gives a detailed description of the different resources she used to help Myles navigate life through the lens of autism.
REACH services helped Myles learn behaviours to navigate life. Executive Director Rene D’Aquila tells viewers how REACH has services to support children with autism and any type of developmental delay. She explains how treatment begins with individualized assessments tailored to the child and their family. Behavioural Consultant Elysa describes the help she gave Anita, Brad and Myles. Both Brad and Myles tell us how repetition was so integral to mastering the skills Myles needed in order to flourish. Now, Myles is a spokesperson in the community. He spreads awareness about autism and shares the message that there is hope.