By Jenny Beach
Our story begins 10 years ago. It was 4 a.m. on a Sunday morning and our world as we knew it was about to change. We were so excited to welcome our beautiful baby boy to this world. Alexander was a very happy, fun and easy baby. He was developing perfectly and loved lots of attention.
Everything was perfect until around the age of 18 months when Alexander started to change dramatically. We remember asking ourselves what happened to our little boy. He no longer wanted to make eye contact. He became so afraid of people we could never go to a restaurant, shopping or extended family gatherings. The words that Alexander had started to say were starting to disappear and he was frustrated. One particular visit to the doctor changed our life once again. She said, “I really think you need to get Alexander evaluated…I think he might be autistic.”
This started the next chapter of our life. We immediately started Alexander in everything we could to get him the help he needed. We started speech therapy and occupational therapy, both private and through the school district. We fought insurance companies and strived to get Alexander around as many kids his age as possible. After years of therapy, we had Alexander tested again. “Not on the spectrum” was the report we received. We were so overjoyed and felt like all the work we did for him was not a waste of time.
However, as time went on he still struggled in the social arena. No matter what we did, he struggled to make friends and to fit in at school. Every year we would wait for the phone call from the teacher saying “Alexander just doesn’t want anything to do with the other kids,” “He won’t play with anyone at recess,” “He seems to be in his own world,” and “Small group settings are very difficult for him.” Until last year the teacher said “I really think you need to have Alexander evaluated…I think he might be autistic.”
Alexander tested on the spectrum again with a PDD NOS diagnosis. This time the recommendations were very different. The team of doctors recommended Social Skills Therapy. West Metro Learning Connections was one of many on the list of possibilities. We live in Eagan and looked for places closer to home but we found that West Metro Learning Connections offered a larger selection of classes that fit our needs. We have always had the thought that no drive is too far for success!
The best part is that Alexander loves his classes, the day camp, his teachers and the staff. He is learning hands-on how to deal with school situations that are stressful for him. We are so thankful we found West Metro Learning Connections. It has made a world of difference for our family and for Alexander. We know this social piece is the last piece we need to overcome and we believe that West Metro Learning Connections plays a big part in helping us write the next chapter of our amazing journey!