What are some things that stand out to you about Lauren’s early childhood?
"When she was about 18 months old, I started to notice that she still hadn’t met a lot of her milestones. She was not speaking and not making much eye contact, and the normal things like pointing and communicating with us and initiating it, as well responding to us, were not happening. One of her preschool instructors pulled me aside and she recommended that I have her be evaluated.
It took a while because there was a huge waitlist at the time which was frustrating. We had to wait several months before she could even be evaluated which was a shock. So, the time period there was roughly about 3-6 months of waiting – of waiting and not knowing. And the diagnosis happened shortly after that – six months after that. When I found out, I was thrown. All of a sudden you’re thrown into a world of a diagnosis and you go online – you Google everything you can about it – and at the same time you’re learning but you’re also feeling isolated. I had so many questions. There was no clarity whatsoever, so I was constantly searching. The information was overwhelming."
What were things like before you came to Cortica?
"Back then, Lauren required 24/7 shadowing. Somebody had to be with her around the clock because she would unpredictably go from one place to the next with no sense of danger. So, she could grab a match, she could turn on the stove, she could walk into the street, she could open up a window. Just merely turning your head in a different direction, and the next thing you know you’re chasing her because she’s spilling something on the ground and while you were cleaning up the spill she’s off to the next adventure. And that’s where the exhaustion came. We could never feel that we were achieving anything because we were following her around. It was very unproductive. "
"When we started working with the team at Cortica, Lauren had just turned 6 years old. I read the book Spectacular Bond by Dr. Goh and I decided, okay, I think I really want to try this. We were at a point where we were ready. We didn’t have anything to lose. What was so amazing to me was how quickly Lauren responded to it. It took a lot for us to even begin to do it. We had to really change a lot of the things that we were doing. What was great about the program was it very simply pointed out the things that we could change in order to enable us to create this bond with Lauren that we didn’t really realize was missing.
I remember my husband saying she’s done more in six weeks than she’s done in six years. I remember wondering if I should be concerned that the way things were handled at school was quite different from what we were doing at home with the Cortica ABA team. I was advised that I didn’t need to say anything to the school, and that Lauren would be able to make the changes at school on her own – that her new skills would transfer over. Within a couple of weeks one of the teachers came up to me and said, what are you doing? Just on her own. Unprompted. Without any discussion from my part. I had not even mentioned a thing to her, and she was amazed and saw a real change in Lauren that she had never seen before. That just added more to the affirmation that we were on the right path - for the first time. "