We introduced Darren* via our blog in February. Now, during Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month, we would like to share share an update on his family’s journey with their Wonderland autism navigation team.
While an autism diagnosis can be unexpected, especially for a family like Darren’s who was primarily concerned about his lack of talking, autism navigators help inform families what their children need and how to access important resources. Darren’s mom Nicole shared, “That’s the biggest thing Wonderland really helped us with, figuring out what to do next. All you think about is your child and the support that they need, and you don’t realize how much support you need as a parent, too. Wonderland is a resource that’s here to help those families. Even working at a children’s hospital and being in contact with providers who were giving me advice, or I could ask questions, I just don’t know how anyone would know what to do otherwise.”
Wonderland’s autism navigators go through the entire process with caregivers. Susanna, who worked with Darren’s family, shares her compassion for families going through this difficult time.
“As a parent, you have all these hopes and dreams for your child, then to receive an autism diagnosis, knowing this could have a long-term impact — it’s so difficult. I’m glad I can be a part of their journey, offering some help at a point when caregivers really need it.”
— Susanna, Darren’s Autism Navigator
Nicole is so grateful to have had Wonderland working with Darren at an early age. She has met many families who don’t start the process of diagnosis and services until they are in elementary school: “It’s a huge advantage that Wonderland provided us — to discover what Darren’s needs were at two years of age and to set us up for success in working with schools.”
During their last autism navigation meeting, Nicole and Susanna celebrated the progress with a few happy tears. Darren is now thriving in preschool, where his speech has exploded. Anyone who hasn’t seen him in a few months can’t believe how chatty he has become.
“There were times I didn’t really know if Darren would ever start talking, but the navigation team assured me he was making progress and would continue to do so.”
— Nicole, Darren’s mom