Sunday, February 11, 2018
Monday, January 15, 2018
Sunday, December 17, 2017
Friday, August 25, 2017
Saturday, December 17, 2016
just an update regarding Hayden's progress:
It’s along time coming, but it’s very exciting in its final steps... Hayden has a good chance at success and a real bonafide quality clinic to go to now. The clinic physically is ready to open, and now all the background necessities have been rolling and set in place. 100%, I feel Hayden will have the very best opportunity at this autism clinic. This same quality will be passed on to all other incoming kids with no quality loss. It is a big day for him and us. Today, I just hired our clinic director and lead clinician after reviewing numerous applicants and interviews. This was one of the last step that we were carefully considering.
I can think back over a year ago… We desperately needed more for Hayden, but did not know how we were going to do so? At times I felt lost, but I tried to show confidence and strength for my family. I never go to the point of despair, but I did have concerns of this day ever coming. I still have concerns of how it will ultimate go? It has to be done and Hayden needs this badly. There IS currently nothing in this whole area that is good enough. If it is, it costs 6 figures easily which I cannot afford. If its affordable, the quality is too low. For high functional autistic kids, I believe there are programs good enough for a child with HFA to succeed. For middle to lower level autistic children? I just don't see it. Why? Most of the other clinics are too profit incentivized. Some of the other autism clinics try, but the legal requirement for caring for an autistic child was just set too low. And it still is. ABA therapy is considered to be the staple therapy for kids on the spectrum or related behavioral issues. All that is required for ABA therapy that is actually administered to the child with autism was a HS diploma! A licensed board certified behavioral analyst oversees the program, but the administering teacher needs nothing more than a little interest and a few hours of unstandardized training and a HS diploma. Laws have since improve as recent as Jan 1st, 2016. It’s better but not much better… Now you need a HS diploma/GED and 40 hours of training and a relatively easy certification that is required for some basic standardization. I applaud the improvement but... Wow! Thats it? are you kidding me? A typical child requires a teaching degree, but a special needs child that needs so much more only gets this? Sure, even though a HS diploma is needed, most behavioral analyst are actually recent college graduates. But many come from various backgrounds looking for a job and the turnover rate is enormous. This results in Hayden, or any other child in this situation, to have another brand new instructor that has to relearn his idiosyncrasies again.
Previously, I knew a hell of a lot of nothing. I was more clueless than a.... I don't know what... but I was pretty clueless. Over the past few years, I wanted to improve upon how I could help get Hayden the proper care. It finally led me to the right path. I have so much more to learn but at least now, I have a little better understanding of:
1. ABA therapy and the inner workings of various styles of it
2. how to come up with a strategy to improve care drastically and still not be in the red,
3. How to marry behavioral therapy with speech and OT and have core academics still not be forgotten
4. 401k plans
5. employee contracts
6. new med-legal laws
7. various crazy pay packages
8. constant dynamic insurance changes for autism
9. insurance billing issues and nuances for autism related services…
I can now see the finish line. At least for this first race. As I complete this race, I will have a new race to observe and see how Hayden finishes that one. Now he still has a long way to go to reach his finish line, but at least his race has now begun with better preparation and training so that he has the chance to perform as well as anyone else in the race. I just want him to go as far as he can, and wherever that ends up being, I am more than content and just ecstatic he has a better opportunity. I will let you know how that goes through his journey towards that line.
There are oh so many people, that without them, these steps would never be possible. Seriously, there are quite a few that have helped me. Some have help me get different viewpoints to balance. Some have fast tracked my progress. Some have been instrumental in helping me move this thing forward in various ways. Some have helped me spread the word and awareness and some are about to completely allow me to have a really good voice. Some have just been a supporting ear so that I don't blame myself for all that I have not done. Hell, some have even been so poor, that I have learned what NOT to do and to stay clear of. I needed all of the above both the good and the bad. You know who you are and I will thank you privately in my own way. One person I have to thank here and now and everywhere else. It is my amazing wife! Without her support, her viewpoints, her intensity and passion, her agreements and disagreements... none of this would be possible. Her holding down the fort and allowing me to spend the time needed to move this machine forward has been the key to it all. Absolutely none of this would be possible. The most beautiful thing she ever gave me though? My children: -My beautiful autistic first-born Hayden -My second son that we lost during a stillbirth, Chase that we will never forget. -And the gift of my wonderful new toddler, Elijah-Easton. God can be tough at times, but God is always good. Above all, I Thank God for giving me this opportunity and I want to pray to him to have him help guide me on this journey.