Suzy Sogoyan + Behavior Trend Talk About Child Development Delays, Behavioral Issues & Treatment

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 Greta: Hello, my gorgeous listeners and welcome back to another episode of Inspiring Women With Greta. Today, we have Suzy and Ani here with us and this is gonna be a little bit of a different episode because I’m gonna just have them take over, get into the nitty-gritty, talk about everything pertaining to child development delays and all these very important topics that moms either know about, don’t know about, want to know more about and I’m not gonna take up too much of your time. So, without further ado let’s welcome Suzy and Ani.

Suzy: Hey guys, Suzy here. I’m so glad to be back on this podcast. Thanks, Greta for having us. I’m here with Ani Khachoyan from Behavior Trend. Fun fact, Ani and I went to High School together. We were best buddies and Ani is the clinical director at Behavior Trend and we’re here to talk about a really important topic, delays, autism, services, insurance. And, I have all of your questions in front of me and I’m so excited to get going on this. This all kind of started because I posted an IGTV on my Instagram and I was updating you all on Christian’s leukemia and where we’re at and it’s funny because I didn’t even plan it but I started talking about development and how he’s getting services and I just wanted to update my followers on where he’s at and how he’s progressed after these bad side effects of chemotherapy and my DM’s were so flooded with questions and I really noticed that a lot of moms are looking for support and help. And, I’m so happy that Ani is here to support us and give us all the facts. So, Ani.

Ani: Thank you, Suzy, for the introduction. I am so happy you’re doing this podcast because you know I get to see the calls every day and obviously a lot of families want to keep this private. So, for you to come on a podcast and tell your story it’s very inspiring for me. I’m hoping that this reaches a great audience so that people can find some comfort in it but also you know take the next steps for whatever that looks like. I just wanted to kind of start off with a story.

I get these calls every day for referrals at the office and we recently had a call where a parent said you know, I’m looking for services for my child because he’s having behavioral issues at school. And, I asked the parent, how old is your child what are the issues, she said, “he’s in high school. Um, he’s hitting kids at school.” and, I asked her you know, what is the school doing about it. And, she said pretty much they asked me to find services. That it’s on my duty to find services for him. And, I said okay well can you like send me any reports. So, she faxed me a ten-page report where this child had behavioral issues from 2011. So, when I called a parent pack, I said, “what has the school provided you? Did they do any testing? Did they give you any assessments?” And, she said, “nope. Pretty much, the school had not done anything.” I get these types of calls every day. And, it just hurts so much to know that the school is not following up, not doing their part and the school puts pressure on the parent to find these services and doesn’t even guide them. Because this mom didn’t even know what type of services to reach out for her son. I wish I can sit there and you know have our long conversations, guide these parents, how to get these services, what to do, who do seek out. But, I’m hoping that this podcast will reach a lot of people and inspire them to obtain services.

Suzy: Yes, exactly and this is why it’s important I think for Ani and I to both be here. Because Ani is going to provide the facts to define a lot of these confusing things that were even confusing for me and I’m such a resourceful person. And, I am going to share my story and kind of provide the emotional support. When I noticed Christian had delays and questionable behaviors, I didn’t have anyone in my family or social circle that I could talk to about special needs. I had family in the field, but no one who was open about their child getting services. So, this is really why I’m sharing my story. I collected a lot of questions. I went in and picked some of the most important ones. And obviously, the first question that I have for Ani and a lot of you had the same question is what are the signs of delays? 

Ani: Great! I’m excited to answer all these questions. I do want to give a quick disclaimer. I want this to be for educational purposes. I don’t want people to take this as diagnosing their child or take it as treatment advice. But, this should be educational for everybody. So, when we think about delays there are different domains/skills that we look at.

One of the three top ones especially when it comes to autism is language, social and play skills.

I think a lot of times families worry about the language and delays related to language but when it comes to autism we really want to look at social delays. What do I mean by social? When you look at a two-year-old, a lot of typical two-year-olds will do a lot of interesting social communication. For example, they might not have language but they’re going to point to things that they want. They’re also gonna point to a lot of things that they want to share interests with you as their parent. You know you’ll see kids say, look mommy or they won’t even say mommy or look but they might point and then look back at you to kind of reference and try to see if you also see that interesting thing that they’re trying to show you in their environment. So, social communication is a really big part of it. If you notice your child is not pointing, and sometimes parents get confused on a point for something versus a point to share that interest. The pointing to share interest is more important than pointing to a request for something. So, if you notice that your child is not pointing or not sharing that type of interest with you, that’s one of the red flags I would say to a lookout.

Other social skills are, are they approaching other kids their age? This doesn’t mean are they talking to them, are they just going near them? Playing next to them? You know, a really good way to look at this is to take your kid to a park and see what they do at the park. You can also see other kids their age and what they’re doing. That’s actually a very good way to see if there are any social delays. The other thing to really look at is play skills. So, how is your child playing with toys? Are they building blocks? Are they feeding the baby? Are they doing anything that seems appropriate with the toys? You know, lining up objects, sometimes even spinning things that spin and only looking at the spinning part of it is also another sign.

For example, a two-two and a half year old, what they would be doing with a toy car is driving it on the floor, maybe crashing it, putting it up a ramp. But let’s say if your child takes the car turns it over and just starts spinning the wheels and just watching the wheel spin. That’s usually a good indicator of they’re not playing with a toy appropriately. It doesn’t mean that that has to be something that they’re doing that gives you a red flag for autism but it should be that they’re in general playing with the toys as the toys are meant to be played with. So, that’s a really good sign to look at as well. Again. Language, yes, it is important.

But, for autism, a lot of times what we’re looking at are these social and play skills.

Another thing to look out for is sensory behaviors. Again, there are one-year-olds and two-year-olds that do a lot of these sensory behaviors and they’re typical normal behaviors. But, once you get to two-two and a half if you start seeing that these types of behaviors are not stopping then that’s when I would say that might be a sign to look out for as well. What do I mean by sensory behaviors? So the spinning, that’s still sensory, that’s a visual sensory. They like the look of what that spinning looks like, sometimes it might be the fan, sometimes it might be turning on and off lights, opening and closing doors, sometimes we see children like flap their hands, sometimes they bring their hand close to their face and start waving their hand in front of their face. A lot of these behaviors are also red flags. But again,

I want you guys to take this as whole and not just one example means autism.

We have to look at all of these things for someone who’s a clinical psychologist to diagnose. In terms of language delays, it’s really hard to define because every child develops so differently.

By three years old, your child should be saying at least two-word sentences if not more.

So, if you’re noticing that that’s not there, even at two years old you should be seeing one word, utterances or even if it’s not pronounced the right way or said correctly, you should still be seeing one word at two years of age. If you see language delays but you don’t see the other delays, social and play, all it could mean is that they have a speech delay.

When my brother actually was in first grade, he had speech and everything but it was really difficult to understand him. He had a lot of issues with pronouncing words and all of that and thankfully the first-grade teacher told my mom, “you know, I think he has some issues with pronouncing words and I think you might want to take him to a speech therapist’ and my mom was on it. She was, like the next day,  at Glendale Unified, filling out paperwork to get him that separate speech therapy. She would drive him twice a week to the school site, he would get his speech therapy services and then she would take him to school. So, what I want to say is when we look at these signs, we want to look at everything and not just one thing. But again, if you see any of this, mention it to your pediatrician.

Suzy: Thanks, Ani. That was really informative and I agree with what Ani said. It’s very hard to define delays and just lay it out in a list. I think that you know your child best and it’s kind of hard to see sometimes but you’ll notice when your child is maybe acting a little different than other children within his age group. My situation is a little different than others because and maybe, I mean some of the moms who do follow me do have a child who’s battled cancer or has undergone a lot of surgeries, is on steroids and you know that with that comes a lot of behavior changes. When Christian is getting his chemotherapy and his steroids, he becomes another child. But I don’t take that as he’s this way because of that just. I just look at it as he needs help and I’m going to get him the help. I don’t make excuses for it. I don’t care about the labels at all. And I do think that it does get confusing. So, what I wanted to talk about next is the different services.

There’s ABA, there’s OT, there’s speech, there’s PT, there’s IEP with the schools, and then there’s counseling.

There are so many different things and I noticed Ani said red flags and I remember when I used to hear that word it would freak me out. But, please don’t get freaked out when you hear the word red flag, okay? When you’re an adult, you take care of things on your own. If you have a broken nail, you go get it fixed. If you have a cavity, you go get it fixed. Your child needs you to do that for them. They cannot get up and go sign documents to get services. So, it’s really up to you to get them to help. And I know, it can be scary and confusing. But honestly, it’s really not once you get in the hang of it? I want you to know that the best form of network is just to get started because when you start going to orientation, you will meet parents. When you start opening up up the services, trust me, you will meet other parents that have gone through the same thing and there is your network.

The reason why you feel like there is no network is because you are not being open about it. That’s literally why you can’t find support.

When I shared my story with some of my white and Jewish friends, I was literally floored by how many of them shared stories about how their children had received speech therapy at home for free and then they got all these services by age two. And, I mean, all jokes aside but some of them even told me that they lied about the symptoms to get free services. And that, I mean, I’m not saying do that but that just kind of shows you that these services are so great that people are trying to grab it. Yet here we are as the Armenian community trying to hide it and push it under the rug like, get the services. Even my pediatrician was telling me the same thing, get the services. And once you do get these services that Ani is going to talk about and explain, you will say why I didn’t do this sooner. The resources are there, you guys. And if you have insurance, it covers. The regional center is there to help you. And, Ani will talk about all of those things. But currently,

Cristian is getting OT speech. I’m trying to get him physical therapy, there’s a waitlist for it. He’s in the IEP with the school. He’s getting ABA and he also gets feeding therapy which we’re actually gonna change to OT because his feeding has improved so much. Christian was a picky eater, would eat blended soups only. And now, he eats like chunky, I mean he eats everything. So, I feel like he’s really progressed in the feeding area. So, what I’m doing is, I’m just switching feeding into another session of OT because he lacks in fine motor department especially with all the steroids and everything. So, I just want extra services. So, Ani breaks it down for us.

What is ABA, OT, speech, PT, IEP, and counseling? 

ABA

Ani: So, ABA stands for applied behavior analysis. I think what people get confused about ABA is that it’s only for kids with autism and that is not the case. ABA is essentially a science, right?

It’s a science which says how do we increase behaviors we want and how do we decrease behaviors we don’t want.

And when I talk about behaviors, I’m talking about every behavior. Earlier we were actually discussing marketing and all of that and people actually use these techniques for marketing. They use it for businesses.

Every day when you go to work and get paid, that’s using an ABA principle.

You are getting positive reinforcement for working in a form of money that gets you access to other things. So, I don’t want people to think ABA is just for autism. ABA is just a science we use and it could be used for anything. So, what is ABA? ABA will focus on pretty much every domain you can think of. There are language skills we can work on, social skills, play skills, adaptive skills. And when I say adaptive, I mean things like hand washing, putting on a shirt the right way, putting on pants, you know, using the toilet and we’ll work on motor skills as well. Motor skills are things like how do they walk, how do they jump, how do they hold the pencil correctly. Some other stuff that is involved in this too is something called executive functioning skills and I just want to say Suzy has great executive functioning skills because she was telling me how she plans out her days earlier today. Essentially, what that is, is how do you manage your time, how are you attending to a task, how are you flexible.

That is a really big thing with a lot of kids with autism too is how can I become flexible if things don’t go my way? How do I become flexible if I wanted to do something but then my friend wants to do something else? So we work on all these skills when it comes to ABA.

 

Occupational Therapy

The other services that you can get as well so that they can supplement the ABA would be occupational therapy. And that’s what Suzy mentioned which was OT. A lot of occupational therapists what they do is they focus on the sensory needs of the child. So, let’s say your child doesn’t like to touch beans or doesn’t like eating a banana because of its texture or doesn’t like getting their clothes wet. A lot of these are sensory sensitivities. I know a lot of kids with autism love playing with water.

So, an OT what they would do is they would help either reduce it if its behavior that’s going to bother their functioning their day-to-day but they also work on things like how do I hold a pencil correctly or they work on a lot of the walking and the jumping as well. But, they see it in a very different way as an ABA provider might see it.

Speech

Speech therapist obviously works on language. Essentially, how do we get children to communicate? They can work on things that are very basic,  starting with one word or pronunciations. Two things that actually can be more complex like pragmatic language. So, what do I mean by that? Kids who are 10, 11, 12 years-old, they have a lot of sarcasm in their language, they have a lot of more abstract language. So, they can work on that as well.

Physical Therapy

PT, so that’s a physical therapist. A physical therapist is really looking at how the muscles are working and how they should be working when you’re walking or jumping or running or how to maneuver your hands. So, a lot of times physical therapy is really for kids who will have those low tone muscles or they might have hypertonia, so they’ll work on those specific things.

IEP

Schools have something called IEP. That’s your individualized education plan. An IEP is actually a legal document. So, this is the legal document where the school has to agree to provide you those services listed on that document. They will list the services that your child will get in the school, they’ll also list goals. An IEP is not something the school is going to make and then hand it to you, it’s something that the entire team has to agree to. And that team consists of the teacher, you as the parent, sometimes the child, the speech therapist if you have occupational therapy, the occupational therapist, if you have ABA services, sometimes the ABA person should also be part of that team. IEP is going to give you access to those services in school. In addition to an IEP, sometimes students get something called a 504 plan.

A 504 plan is similar to an IEP in the sense that you are going to get specific services, but it’s not as in-depth as an IEP

.Usually, the school will lead you as to whether your child will need an IEP or a 504 plan, but again both of these documents are going to provide services for your child in the school. The other service that I wanted to talk about was counseling.

Counseling

Counseling is something you could get in this school but you can also get outside of school services, as well. Counseling is really good for kids who are able to talk and kind of express their feelings and emotions on what’s going on. Those services are really for those types of kids, 5 years old or older, where they can go see maybe a clinical psychologist or even some marriage and family therapists who are well versed in that as well. In the school, this has to be written in an IEP that they go see a counselor and talk about what’s going on in school and the issues that they’re having.


Just to sum it up, these services are not only for children who have a diagnosis of autism. These services can be used for any child, I’ve even had clients who do not have any diagnosis, they don’t even have any delays but still have sought out behavior services because their child is having behavior issues at home. So again, just to be clear these are not services that are only for children with autism. You can get these services for any child and it can also be as early as birth. So, you do not have to wait until you see certain signs, some children have delays or might be born prematurely as well and these services can be obtained even at birth.

Suzy: Thank you for those great points, Ani.

I wanted to give an example of how these services have helped Christian.

Christian has had a lot of trauma with his situation with living at the hospital, nurses holding him down, giving him medicine…and for a while we would take him to a restaurant, he would sit in the highchair and when the waitress would approach our table, hover over his head to place the plate down and he would start panicking and yelling. He thought that the waiter or waitress is going to hold him down and give him medicine and that was a common issue. Anytime we would go to someone’s house, you know Armenians are very lovey and love to give big hugs and kisses and all. So, I would have to warn people not to do that to Christian because he would associate that with – you’re gonna hold me down and you’re going to give me medicine and you’re gonna hurt me. So, this was a behavior that I needed to address. It has nothing to do with a label or anything. It’s a behavior that I needed to address because, why would I want my child to feel this anxious way?

So, ABA would come to restaurants with us and I had no problems with doing that. I actually had a parent who said they were embarrassed to take them along. But, I think children are the most comfortable in their home and you need to get the services outside of the home as well. This was very important for me. They would come and they would help not just Christian but, they would tell us what to do as parents because they are not going to be there forever. Slowly we learned with language and with pausing and with showing him and explaining to him verbally that hey, he’s the waiter, he’s bringing our food. Look the food is delicious. The waiter brings us the food, sets it on the table and we kept doing that and repeating it and with a little reinforcement if he didn’t tantrum he learned that not everyone is out to get him. And, I don’t want to talk big, but you should see Christian now. When we go to parties or homes or anything he’s the first one to walk in the room and say hi everyone and he used to be the one that would avoid people because he thought they’re going to attack. I think that even though, yeah, he gets less chemo now and that also helped but I truly think it’s because of ABA that he was able to conquer that fear. So, that’s literally one way. They’ve helped with potty training, they’ve helped with all things new.

Honestly, I don’t want to say that they’re like an extra babysitter but they’re an extra set of hands who have a lot of knowledge and it’s nice to have their support. Sometimes as a parent, especially one like me who has babied Christian, gotten him an overload of toys and really have kind of put aside all the rules because I was more focused on getting him treatment. Now, I’m like wait he’s better now. So, how do I rewind everything that I did wrong, you know?

ABA comes in and they tell you, “Hey when you leave the house, he shouldn’t be tantruming at this point. He should give you a hug and say, mom, have a good day at work. I’ll see you when you get back.” another thing that they worked on with Christian is visual agendas. He’s just like me, he loves an agenda. He wakes up in the morning, says, “okay, it’s time for breakfast and then we wash hands go to the potty, brush our teeth, get dressed for school” and he kind of has the schedule down and he is less anxious because of the help that ABA gave. I wouldn’t think to write out a plan for a two or three-year-old. ABA gave me a small little idea that made the biggest difference.

With OT speech, Christian is sounding out words, reading signs, reading books slowly (he loves to read), he knows all of the letters and now I’m trying to bring in Armenian. Because, when I started speech therapy, they told me not to speak Armenian to focus on one language and that did help but now I’m trying to bring in the Armenian aspect and he’s slowly getting it.

I am letting you know that it’s not a scary thing. The services are great. Trust me, get them and you will not regret it.

 Ani: I just wanted to jump in right here to say how important it is that if you are receiving services, for you as a parent to be involved in those services. I know Suzy mentioned babysitting but I can also guarantee that Suzy did a lot with parent training and following up with whatever the recommendations were from the service providers. I think that’s such an important part, that you are also playing a role in those services and we want parents to eventually be their child’s forever teacher.

Suzy: Exactly and telling your babysitter the same things and telling your in-laws and your parents, which is the hardest part in the Armenian culture because they will just wash away every routine that you’ve put into place. But Ani, answer this question for us,

What’s the first step? The first step is getting evaluated. How does one get evaluated? How do they pay for it? 

Ani: Yeah, good question. So, usually, when you see any concerns or signs you want to mention it to your pediatrician. Bring it up to your pediatrician and see what they say. Sometimes pediatricians have a short checklist that they’ll run off with you to check for developmental signs and developmental milestones. If your pediatrician has a concern, the next step would be seeking an evaluation either through the regional center or  privately. If your pediatrician doesn’t see any concerns, but you as a mom feel like there is something there, try to get a second evaluation from another pediatrician. We actually have several clients right now who told me that they brought this up to their pediatrician and the pediatrician said, oh you’re just a first-time mom. You’re just worrying too much. You just don’t know how to actually deal with behavior, so this is why your child was having behaviors.

It’s so sad because they lost those first six months thinking that there weren’t issues and then the issues just escalated and became pretty big where the mom then decided to seek these services.

So again, if you feel like there’s something there and the pediatrician tells you they don’t have a concern, seek out a second opinion. Once you do that, you are gonna be sent to the regional center and what regional center does is essentially it’s a free service, you go in and you get an evaluation. It’s not scary, it’s a really simple process. They will do a couple of observations. They’ll have you come into their clinic as well and then they write up a report based on what they observed and what they recommend. So usually, the last page of a regional center report is the type of recommendation for services.

Now, I know a lot of families ask well I don’t want to go through regional. I want to really keep this private. There is completely that option for you to do that privately as well. You would just have to seek out a clinical psychologist. Usually, they have a Ph.D. or PsyD degrees. So you want to look out for that and you want to get evaluated by them. You want to make sure they do a full evaluation, just so that they can rule out or rule in any diagnosis or disability that they think might be there based on their testing. A lot of times, the schools don’t do a thorough evaluation. So, this is why I recommend going and getting a private evaluation so that you can really see what are the issues that my child has and really get that good valuable valuation from a clinical psychologist. If your child is three-years-old and older and you go to the regional center what they’re gonna tell you is now you need to go to the school to get the evaluation. I want people just to make sure that the school doesn’t give a diagnostic report. They don’t do a diagnosis. They do something called eligibility.

So essentially, the school is gonna say, okay, your child is eligible to receive special ed services?

Whenever we see special ed services, again we’re talking about all those things we listed in the beginning. So you’re ABA, OT speech, PT. It does not mean, your child is gonna be in a special ed classroom.

You can still get speech and still be in a regular classroom. I wanted to make it clear that this process, where you go to a regional center or private clinical psychologist is to essentially get a diagnosis, right? The clinical psychologist is going to give you a report and that report is your ticket essentially to start ABA services. So, when you come to us here at Behavior Trend, we provide ABA services and the first thing we do is an ABA assessment. We want to see, because every kid is so different, what is your child’s strengths and then what are the needs and what are your priorities in terms of getting ABA services. Once you have that diagnostic report from a clinical psychologist, again whether you went privately or you went to a regional center, bring that report to us and we will start the ABA assessment process.

Again, Behavior Trend we are in the Los Angeles area we provide ABA services & we do an ABA assessment. We actually provide services not only in the home but we go into the schools too, whether this is private schools or public schools. We want to make sure we’re providing these services where children really need help in. If you’re looking for a clinical psychologist, there are two ways you can go about it. So again, if you want to pay privately you can really go google look for a clinical psychologist who specializes in children, whatever that age group is. Or, if you have private insurance you can call up your insurance provider and ask to get a list of in-network providers who are clinical psychologists and take your insurance. That way, you can go through insurance and get a diagnostic report through there.

When it comes to us for ABA services, we are similar. Again, we can do private services where we do not have to go through insurance or regional center. When it comes to private pay there’s a lot of things we don’t have to do, we don’t need a diagnostic report because we can provide ABA to anybody.

Suzy: Thank you so much, Ani. This clarified a lot. I have some questions from some of my followers.

1

What is the best therapy for a child who gets anxiety and super shy around new people? 

Ani: A lot of times with anxiety, it depends on the child’s age. So, you really want to expose children to those types of settings. You don’t want to avoid those settings because then it will start creating more anxiety over that type of setting. You want to have your child in some type of Mommy and Me group, if they’re younger, or some type of club or activity after school so that they can be tolerating essentially that type of environment. If there is a true diagnosis of anxiety, meaning you went to a clinical psychologist and there’s a diagnosis of anxiety, you want to make sure that they are getting some type of either cognitive behavioral therapy, called CBT, or some type of therapy where they are meeting with the clinical psychologist to talk about their feelings and to talk about what can I really do if I get these feelings when I’m in this type of situation? 

 Suzy: Next question is,

My son is 20 months old and has some developmental delays. He’s already in PT, OT. He’s also getting child development once a week and in the process of getting speech therapy,  wanted to know if you know any other resources that will benefit him.

I mean, I think I can answer this, too. You need ABA.

Ani: Yeah, definitely. I was going to say ABA-ABA-ABA. Um, 20 months, so usually what happens is what regional center has this rule or law right, so before a child turns three, they provide those services and ABA is actually not one that they provide for kids under three. But if you have delays and you have behavioral problems and your child is 20 months, ABA should definitely be part of that routine. Definitely with that you’re going to have to work with your regional center coordinator or maybe call us up and try to see how we can start the process. Maybe, privately until you get an evaluation. You can also  go through the private route with a clinical psychologist and get a diagnosis because regional will not do a diagnostic evaluation for certain things until the child gets closer to two years old or two-and-a-half years old. Because they tell you that they’re giving you those early intervention services before they turn three. So, definitely seek out ABA.

 Suzy:

My 3.5-year-old can’t make sentences. What should I do? Is it considered a delay? 

Ani: Again this is not a diagnosis, but for a three and a half-year-old a milestone for them in terms of language is that they’re putting three to four-word sentences together. So, if that’s not happening definitely seek out an evaluation.

 Suzy: And this is the last question.

LAUSD issues, does it go on the child’s record for all the entire school years? 

Ani: That’s a good question! So, student records just in general are always going to stay the student records. They are kept private. So for example, if I wanted to call up LAUSD and ask for someone’s records, I cannot get a handle of those records. You as a parent would have to sign off, even on me as a clinician, I can’t call and say I want so and so’s records. You would have to sign off on an agreement that you are okay with so-and-so person calling LAUSD and getting the student’s records.

Does LAUSD keep your records? Of course, you know they will keep records and have that on file but again they can’t share that file with anybody unless you give permission for them to share it with whoever you want them to share it with. Just as a clarification all of these services and evaluations and everything that you do is always going to stay confidential. The pediatrician can’t share that information with anybody unless you give permission to. The ABA specialists cannot give anyone that information unless you give them permission to do so. So, all of the services, diagnostic reports, everything will stay confidential.

I also want to let you know that if your child did have delays or previously receive these services, that this is not going to have any effect on you know their future careers or college acceptances or anything like that because they are not going to access those student records again, unless it’s something that they give permission to because when they’re 18 they become adults or if you give permission to those services or schools that they are seeking.

Suzy: Thank you Ani that was so resourceful and this is the type of information I was looking for before I got started and I hope these facts were important to you but a lot of the DMs and questions I got were moms wanting this emotional support. How can I get my family to understand and be on board with me? How can I get moms at school not to judge my child? When I posted my video on IGTV, a girl commented on it saying I am a mother of a special-needs boy. I thought that that was such a strong and powerful statement. So, I will say it too.

I am a mother of a special-needs boy.

Many asked how they can join support groups and that’s literally how? Its simple guys, be a leader, say it yourself and I guarantee others will follow.

To the moms who don’t have this problem…

please be more aware and be careful with your comments. If you notice a child with delays or something of a behavior that’s a little odd, hold back your comment unless you’re going to help. If you are aware of these things that Ani has discussed and you’re gonna say, hey I noticed your child flapping you know you can get services for that. Keep it light and don’t freak the parent out. If you’re just saying it to say it, don’t say it! If you don’t have the answers, don’t say it! Your comments and your judgments are deterring parents from getting the services that their children need. They get scared, they hold back and if you’re listening to this and I really hope you are, please just be cautious of them.

To the parents who were unaware and may be aware now…

after this podcast or after my IGTV post, please don’t beat yourself up. As a parent, I really know how hard it is to admit that your child is not like others. Especially, because when you see your child you see them as normal and happy and just your child. But when you know better, you do better. So honestly, just get the help, don’t look back. I promise, one month in and you’ll wonder why you didn’t start it sooner. But again, don’t beat yourself up. You know I love to share and I would not share this whole thing if it didn’t help. Everyone always tells me, you’re so share-y, you share everything that works for you. This is something that worked for me and it changed my life, it changed my family’s life and it changed Christian’s life. So, if that wasn’t the case, I would never post it on my IGTV and come on this podcast. This is a lot of work and I don’t want to say I’m busy & I don’t have time for this. But, I’m sharing this because it did work, you guys.

To the parents who know their child needs help and are not getting it…

because they are ashamed or they’re scared of labels…like I said before, as an adult when you have a cavity you pick yourself up and you go to the dentist. When you have a cold, you go to the doctor, you drive to the pharmacy, you get yourself medication. Your child can’t get help on their own. They need you to do it for them; you need to be their advocate.

Please take it from someone who almost lost your child. Christian almost died.

And I say that to myself all the time not to be insensitive but to remind myself that there are far worse things than your child getting speech and OT and ABA. The opinions of others are not worth your child not getting services. Please take that into consideration. I know in our culture, everyone is hiding themselves. But, I hope that with me being so open and honest I can inspire others to do the same and that doesn’t mean that you open up a blog and start talking about every personal thing in your life. That’s not meant for everyone. But, it could be within your family, it could be to yourself.

I feel like my purpose with Christian getting leukemia and now getting all these services, is probably because I have the guts to be open about it and hopefully I can give that to other moms.

Because, when you really look at it life doesn’t have to be a solo journey. We just make it that way because we’re so scared. I really hope that this podcast is going to be helpful for a lot of you and I really feel that it is.

Thank You, Greta, for having us and letting us take over your podcast. Thank you, Ani, for taking your time and giving us all the facts. If you need emotional support, someone to vent to, please feel free to DM me,  I’m always there. I have to be honest and say that within the last two months my DM’s have really grown. Especially after I started posting about delays, I’m having a harder time going through all of them. I used to open each one up but I’m kind of having a harder time. But, I will do my best. And I’m always here. I get a lot of DM’s that start with, I feel so weird sending you this message BUT. Please don’t say that. I’m opening up my DM’s. You can talk to me about anything; I would never share your information with anyone else.

If you need all of the facts, all of the information on where to get services, how to get services, this is all going to be on Greta’s blog and Behavior Trend is in the Los Angeles area. So, if you are in the Los Angeles area and you are looking to get services or get an assessment, you can call 818-369-4440.

If you have a husband, a mother-in-law, a mom or even a friend that says things like, oh, he or she looks fine. They’ll grow out of it or, I would get this a lot, he’s just a boy. Please, don’t sit back and listen to that if you truly feel like your child might have a delay or a behavior that needs to be addressed.

In my personal experience, I took a stance and I was my child’s biggest advocate. I did my homework; I didn’t wait for anyone to come along with me not even my husband even though he’s so supportive now. I went to my family and I let them know the next steps. I didn’t give them the room to give opinions because I knew as his mom and his biggest advocate that my child needed the extra help and honestly guys it was life-changing not only for Christian, because of night and day difference- night and day. But also for me and my whole family, it’s decreased a lot of my stress and I’m so thankful that I sought help early on. And speaking of seeking help early on I can’t stress the importance of early intervention because children are sponges guys and when they receive the therapy or the services that they need, it’s so strong that it can mold their brain basically in the right direction. So, if you wait you’re making it harder on the child, the service provider and yourself, most importantly your child. So, don’t hold them back because of stigma, labels, cultural standards or even society. Seek help and thank you for listening.

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