At 3 years old, Ethan Cook loves any kind of vehicle you put in front of him, especially trucks. He enjoys music, dancing, and one of his favorite games is UNO because he learns colors and numbers. Ethan enjoys spending as much time outside playing as he can. He recently taught himself how to blow bubbles – and is fascinated by popping as many bubbles as possible. He enjoys many other things children his age adore, only one thing sets him apart: Ethan has autism.
Thanks to the support of Easter Seals of South Carolina, Ethan is learning the skills that allow him to lead a full and happy life. Autism affects 1 in 68 children, and 1 in 42 boys; in fact, boys are 5 times more likely to have Autism than girls. It is the fastest growing developmental disorder.
The South Carolina affiliate of Easter Seals was established in 1934. The organization’s mission is to provide exceptional services to ensure children with disabilities or special needs have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities. Easter Seals children with disabilities by providing early Intervention services as well as connecting families with Occupational, Speech and Physical Therapies.
In October 2015, Easter Seals South Carolina started a new program specifically dedicated to helping families with children who have been diagnosed with autism. These families struggle to find affordable care since the cost of caring for a child with autism is as much as $60,000 per year. Easter Seals now proudly provides Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy to children with autism.
Ethan began services with Easter Seals in August 2014, after his mother, Jessica started noticing a change in his speech. She was worried that Ethan had stopped saying “mama” and “dada.” When she took him to the doctor, she was told that Ethan qualified for BabyNet. She was then given a list of organizations that could provide the services her son needed. Jessica chose Easter Seals for Ethan’s treatments since she had a positive experience with the organization in the past. Her oldest son has hearing and speech delays.
Currently, Ethan is receiving early intervention services from Easter Seals. These services are designed to help him achieve cognitive, social/emotional, communicative, adaptive and physical development goals. Most early Intervention services take place in the home or, in the case of working parents, at child care facilities in the local community. Ethan works with his early interventionist, Lindsay Diamond, every week at his grandmother’s home.
Ethan and Lindsay have a great relationship, he is always happy to see her when she arrives. Ethan loves to play UNO with Lindsay, and he almost always wins! She really understands him and his needs. She is responsible for working with Ethan’s family to develop an Individual Family Service Plan a plan for special services for young children with developmental delays.
The greatest thing about Ethan and Lindsay’s relationship is the remarkable progress they have made since starting their work together; Ethan is now saying words and singing songs. He knows the entire alphabet, both capital and lowercase letters. He can also tell the difference between a “b” and a “d.” “Ethan has come such a long way since Lindsay began working with him,” Jessica shared. “I have seen a tremendous improvement from where he was to where he is now.”
Jessica knows that if she ever has a question or needs anything, she can go to Lindsay for help. For example, she had a question about behavior during potty training and Lindsay worked to get her the answer she needed. If Ethan needs something that Easter Seals does not offer, the organization provides Jessica with available resources.
Without a doubt, Jessica and Ethan’s experience with Easter Seals has to been extremely positive. When originally looking for an organization that could help, Jessica knew she wanted to find one that had a great support system, one that they could really count on.
Jessica shared, “We have found this relationship with Easter Seals. At the start they said, ‘Ethan, we’re going to support you. You don’t have to go through this alone.’ And this is exactly what they have done.”
Ethan is improving and learning each day, and it is obvious to Jessica that he loves it. Lindsay and Easter Seals have made this happen for them. “Thanks to getting Ethan on BabyNet and choosing Easter Seals, he has made tremendous improvements,” Jessica said. “I hope he will continue to learn and get even better.”
For more information about Easter Seals of South Carolina, please visit www.easterseals.com/southcarolina/ or call (803)-466-4089.