February Family of the Month Story Meet the Wolford Family

The Wolford’s story begins like so many other families affected by autism. John and Bethany Wolford have three children: Julionna, Madison, and Remington. Here is their story.

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It all started when Bethany noticed Remington could not communicate his needs. Remington, who is now five years old, was not developing communication skills at age two. “He would script (repeating phrases) from videos he would watch,” Bethany told us. “I knew this was not right.” On the other hand, Remington loved to read books. He could write fluently and identify numbers; both are advanced skills for a two-year old. But he struggled with going outside of the home. “Sometimes it would be successful, but more often, it was problematic,” said Bethany. “Doing something outside of the normal schedule would cause meltdowns, and he would be scared. I would prepare him for changes as much as possible. Something as simple deviating from our normal route, like taking a different interstate exit, would cause problems.”

Like so many other parents searching for answers, Bethany turned to the internet. “I had searched for ABA services for quite some time before I located Autism ETC,” said Bethany. “I contacted the center and spoke with Intake Manager, John Holtzman. He helped me immensely. John guided me as I struggled to get a pediatrician referral for a diagnostic evaluation. An autism diagnosis was necessary for Remington to start services.” It was nine long months later
before Remington got the referral and was seen by a doctor at Fort Campbell. Unfortunately, Remington’s evaluation was not thorough. Bethany did not give up. “Eventually, John helped me schedule an appointment to see clinical psychologist Dr. Michelle McAtee, who works with Autism ETC. She was able to do the testing, and she diagnosed Remington in January of 2019.”

Bethany continued, “We started with part-time services in May. The first day Remington received services, I felt both excitement and relief. He clicked immediately with the two staff members conducting his therapy. You could tell they loved him. It was instant, and I knew that we had come to the right place.” Bethany remembers her concerns with introducing Remington to Autism ETC. “As a stay-at-home mom, I was a little terrified bringing Remington to the center. Remington had never gone to day care, so this was a whole new experience for us. At first, I was a little afraid, but within a few minutes of being at the center, all the fear and worry vanished.”

Remington is now a full-time client in the Day Therapy Program. He receives services five days per week, six hours per day. Bethany explains how the staff has affected her: “The staff has helped me to be more patient and understanding. They have shown me coping skills and taught me how to help him navigate daily life. I feel as though I understand him better. The staff has taught me to help him in ways that I could not have imagined.”

Remington has made considerable progress in the nine months since starting with Autism ETC. Bethany sees a totally different child. She explains how the staff has brought out potential she did not know was there: “He communicates on a whole different level; it is a complete one-eighty. He can describe his wants and needs, and he is learning how to perform many activities he will eventually do in school. His favorite part is making art projects, and he is proud of his work! This year, he made several Christmas ornaments. He was in awe of what he had made! He would take them off the tree, hug them, carry them around, and then put them back on the tree.” Without the therapy he has received, Bethany is not sure any of his accomplishments would have been possible. “There was something more inside of him, and the staff at Autism ETC has unleashed his potential.”

Bethany affirms the advice given by other parents in her situation: “Don’t give up!” She believes every second of fighting, struggling, and waiting she experienced while trying to find services for her son, was rewarded when Remington arrived at Autism ETC. “To me, it has been worth it,” she said. “I see a bright future for Remington. I want him to continue to be at the center full-time for a few more years. I know the time will come for his services to decrease, and I believe
by that time, he will be ready to attend public school. I believe he will be successful when he joins a typical classroom setting.” Autism ETC is grateful to Bethany and John for sharing their story and continuing to share Remington with us.

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