Nicholas's Story


Nicholas always did things at his own pace. He was slow in reaching developmental milestones, but constantly progressed and reached them eventually. When Nicholas was about 2, his daycare teachers were concerned about his development. They reported that he spent a lot of time alone and didn’t talk. We were confused because he talked a lot at home and was always sociable with our friends and family. The teachers of our ECFE class suggested we have Nicholas evaluated through the school district. We learned that he qualified for services for developmental delay. Our pediatrician supported our resolve to get more opinions and we took him for evaluations at a local hospital and at Fraser.

Though the evaluations reported slightly different diagnoses, all had the same recommendation – early intervention as quickly as possible. The process was frustrating and confusing, but we focused on the areas we wanted to help him develop rather than on a particular diagnosis or label. We considered ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) as well as Fraser autism services. We weren’t sure that the highly structured environment of ABA was right for Nicholas. He was easy going and fairly good with transitions. We felt what he really needed was social interactions. We liked the social development approach at Fraser and also that Fraser matches services with each child’s needs.

Thankfully, we qualified for TEFRA and got insurance coverage for Fraser. We began with skills training and enrolled Nicholas in the autism day treatment program. It was such a relief to get a variety of services at Fraser and to stop driving to appointments across the metro. Through Fraser, Nicholas now receives autism day treatment as well as speech-language, motor, occupational and music therapies. He works one-on-one with an adult and also interacts with other children.

Now 4, Nicholas has made wonderful progress. In speech therapy, he is learning to follow two-step directions. His therapist shows us things we can do at home to support his success. He has also learned about interacting with peers. This has helped build friendships at daycare. Learning about turn-taking has led to fun games of Go Fish and Lucky Ducks with mom and dad. Thanks to help from OT, he is now a demon tricycle rider.

Through Fraser, we participated in an intensive program brought to Minnesota by Oregon-based Pace Place. Focusing on the emotional/nonverbal part of the brain, it was eye opening. We will use the strategies we learned for a long time. We love that Fraser partners with other leading organizations to benefit families like ours.

Another reason we love Fraser is music therapy. Because music is highly motivating for Nicholas, it helps him learn skills in areas that he is delayed. Music builds self-esteem and gives him the opportunity to excel. And, it never fails to put a big smile on his face!

Having our son at Fraser means access to the best treatments available. We believe only a few organizations across the country are equal to Fraser. It’s wonderful that we can live in an affordable community and have access to the quality of treatment that Fraser offers.

- Stephen and Electra