It “takes a village” to help children who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. For the family of 5 year old Nathan, Fidelity House Human Services became their village.
When twins Nathan and Evan were born, their parents were told that Evan may experience problems as he developed, but it was Nathan who did not progress as expected. Because of multiple behavior issues, Nathan was tested for many conditions and, at the age of 2 years, 9 months, he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
“It was really hard to accept” says Nathan’s mom, Hayley. “He received some services, but his behavior was not improving.” At age four, Nathan was referred to Fidelity House Human Services. Hayley credits Fidelity House Case Manager Deborah Lafond and Sue Lunn, Fidelity House VP of Children and Family Services, with “saving her life.”
Nathan’s behavior was so challenging, and it was clear he needed help. But it wasn’t just Nathan who needed the support. Hayley said, “Deb helped me so much. She was a vent to cry, not judging, just listening. Deb just knew what to do. She saw that Nathan needed structure and created a special schedule – on a board with pictures.”
Getting a schedule in place was a positive step, but Nathan was still struggling at school. Sue Lunn helped Hayley prepare for Nathan’s IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting with all of his teachers and school support staff. Sue recommended that the team develop measurable goals with specific benchmarks.
Hayley says “I would not have been able to do it without her help. Nathan got the services he needed, and Sue taught me how to be an effective advocate for my son.”
With Sue’s encouragement, Hayley also joined a support group. Reluctant at first, she found she had a lot more in common with the other families than she first imagined.
Over a period of months, Nathan began to calm down. He now feels more confident and even looks forward to going to school. Every member of the family smiles when they talk about Nathan’s progress.
According to Hayley, though, the financial challenges related to medical expenses and therapies do not go away. It is difficult to find activities for Nathan. For example, Nathan discovered that he likes swimming, but he cannot handle a large class. Through Fidelity House, Nathan is now able to attend a semi-private class, giving him the environment he needs to learn how to swim. Fortunately, thanks to the generosity of donors like you, Hayley can now afford the swim lessons.
Another challenge is giving her son Evan enough attention, while focusing on Nathan. Hayley appreciates that Fidelity House utilizes a “whole family approach” by offering activities like trips to the movies or indoor water park, “things that both Nathan and Evan can enjoy,” she said. The family has been able to participate in the Fidelity House’s Southwick Zoo trip and other recreational activities, which are subsidized by charitable donations. While Nathan and his family still have challenges ahead, they have much to look forward to.
Hayley says “thank you.” She knows your donations make a difference because you have made a difference for her son. She is grateful for the assistance that Fidelity House provides. You can help more children like Nathan and moms like Hayley with your gift today.
There are a lot more families out there who could benefit from the “village” that is Fidelity House Human Services. Would you please make a donation by December 31st? Your gift will send the message that “you are not alone.” When you make a donation to Fidelity House, you help Nathan, his family and other families. You make it possible for him and so many more like him, to get what they need to succeed. You can give securely by using this link.