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De Kam Family Story

De Kam Family

We thought our son, Logan, who is nine, simply had some speech issues. But at the age of six, things changed. In kindergarten, he didn't respond to redirection the way other children did. We were told the school couldn't work with him.

That began a series of tests, diagnosis, medications and therapies. Nothing worked and nothing seemed to help. Then we called Fraser, had another evaluation and landed on a diagnosis of autism. Fraser was by far our best experience with anyone, both in terms of diagnosis and explaining to us how uniquely autism presented itself in Logan.

Even though we had been seeking answers, the diagnosis was hard to accept at first. You have that thought – "What will his life be like?" It was then that we realized we had to let go of our expectations and let him be himself.

That began our journey as a family through Fraser. We have three other children and one by one they have needed Fraser. Just as we were settling into Logan's diagnosis and social and individuals skills therapy, we began to see issues with our daughter, Charlotte, who is five. She just finished with day treatment at Fraser Eden Prairie, I cried when she graduated. Her gains are remarkable; picking up things from other kids. Her confidence has increased so much. Thanks to her time with Fraser, we feel she's ready for kindergarten.

Then there is Owen, who is seven. It was hard to know if something was going on with Owen, since he picked up so many things from his big brother. We were pretty convinced that he had autism, but his struggles are not communication based.

He has ADHD, anxiety and speech disorder. He's made a lot of improvements, thanks to Fraser Mental Health. His level of patience and thinking outside himself are so much better.

Last is Elise, who is three. She's like the song, "One of these things are not like the other." I was pregnant with her when Owen was diagnosed, and she was just diagnosed with oppositional defiance disorder through Fraser. For her, Fraser has been essential as we learn how to help her through Fraser In-Home Support.

We trust Fraser to make the decisions on what is best for our kids. We had lots of bad experiences, lots. But that all stopped when we got to Fraser. Finally we were able to put all the bits and pieces together. They put us in touch with other resources. It changed everything. Autism didn't look so much like a doom and gloom diagnosis.

While all our children have benefited from various services at Fraser: day treatment, therapy, skills groups and training, our next step with Fraser has had a big impact – In-Home Support. Through school and therapy, the kids learn great tools, but those tools never come home. We have four kids. We don't have time to dedicate to just one, because when we're with Owen, Elise is pouring rice on the floor and Charlotte is coloring the walls. We just can't do it.

There's no time for parent coaching with 19 appointments a week. When would we have time for that? Fraser in-home therapists will incorporate everything – the coaching and education we need, and the therapy our kids need.

The hardest part of all this is to see your kids freaking out and there's nothing you can do. Fraser is helping us be better parents. Through them we are learning about our children's struggle. Our understanding is growing and that makes things so much easier.

When you have a baby you have all these hopes and dreams of what they will do, what they will be like, how they will like the things you do. You envision that. When you get a diagnosis, it's heartbreaking. Those dreams change. It's sad. They won't be the way you were as a child, or do the things you did.

When you come to a place like Fraser you get that hope back. You get to build dreams again for your child. It changes everything.

Nathan and Sara De Kam