When one year-old Micah began repetitively spinning the wheels of his toy car and avoiding eye contact, mom Natasha feared something was wrong with her little boy.
“I would try to engage with him to experience the moment but he seemed like he was in his own little world,” says Natasha.
Concerned about her son’s lack of progress, Natasha consulted her family doctor who referred her to ErinoakKids in 2017. Here, he became part of a first-of-its-kind pilot known as the Early Intervention Demonstration.
The pilot is focused on providing in-home coaching and support for parents of children 12-24 months who have not yet received a diagnosis but are showing early signs of autism.
For Natasha and her husband Ray, this one-to-one coaching by ErinoakKids therapist Caroline Centurami has been invaluable.
Caroline visits Micah twice a week and videotapes Natasha’s interactions with the young boy. Together, Caroline and Natasha identify goals for Micah. They work to address how Natasha can best support Micah’s daily activities at home such as mealtime, handwashing, and reading – all tasks that are otherwise difficult for him to engage in given his diagnosis.
“This program has given me the tools I need to better understand this journey with Micah,” says Natasha. “The support we have received has been structured around his needs, and with Caroline’s compassion and dedication, it has proven to be a priceless gift to our family.”
Micah, with his affectionate, loving and big personality, is now thriving because of ErinoakKids’ support. He is now able to interact with people around him and he enjoys laughing and making others laugh.
“If I’m cleaning, he will pick up a towel and clean whatever is closest to him,” Natasha says. “It is just adorable.”
Natasha is grateful for the early intervention that was available for Micah, and for the tools she was able to access through ErinoakKids. It has given her hope and lifted the stress that comes with having a child with specific needs.
“If it wasn’t for ErinoakKids, I don’t know where I would be right now” she says. “They’ve made our dreams come true.”