We knew he needed to see a specialist, but screening can be expensive and wasn’t covered by our insurance. We felt like terrible parents. We knew we needed help and looked everywhere for answers. After talking with more professionals than I can remember and visiting agencies specializing in behavioral health, we were referred to Jewish Family & Children’s Service.
His mom and I spent his early years taking him from one day care to another. Our son would be labeled “a naughty child” and we would have to find a new place. He was never satisfied with the answers we provided. It wasn’t enough to say the character in a book was a dinosaur. He needed to know what type of dinosaur. Why was there a dinosaur in the story in the first place? Why couldn’t it be something else? We knew something was different but didn’t know what to do about it.
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Each time we thought we had found the right place, that the staff had extensive experience working with “spirited” children, we were thrilled. But the call always came. “It’s time for you to start looking for a new day care center. Your son is not welcome here.” As our beautiful boy grew older, he asked questions like any young child, but his questions were more intense.
JFCS championed our cause with school administrators and guidance counselors to make sure our son was evaluated for an individualized education program. Today, he has access to an occupational therapist, a psychologist and the extra help he needs. JFCS also helped us get into a parenting support group. It has been a lifesaver teaching us how to relate and react to our son. I now know how to recognize when he is frustrated or needs time alone. After a series of behavioral analysis tests, our son was diagnosed with ADHD and autism. We were so grateful for an answer, as the diagnosis opened the door to specialists, therapy and support groups.
We were finally on the right path and meeting with professionals who could help our son. We weren’t Jewish but like their mission states, they work with families of all faiths and we were welcomed with open arms. The staff were understanding and offered compassionate care without judgment.
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