We were worried about our daughter, Fiorella, for two years. Before she was diagnosed with autism through Fraser a year and a half ago, we were quite desperate asking for help. Thank god we arrived here.
It was a shock for us, the diagnosis. It is so hard to hear that about your child. We didn’t even know what autism was.
Despite the difficulties, we have been lucky. We keep finding angels in the world as we go through this. And so many of those angels are at Fraser.
Fiorella, who is now four years old, receives many autism services at Fraser, and we are very appreciative of the clinical staff. They have so much patience with her. They do much more than just their work. They are connected to Fiorella.
It’s an amazing change in her, from night to day. Her temper tantrums are shorter and less often. We are able to calm her. She sings and feeds herself now, and we can even brush her teeth. She transitions from one thing to another, which makes so many things easier for us as a family
We are thankful that getting Fiorella in for intervention happened quickly - day treatment, in-home, speech and occupational therapy and family skills therapy. We were not stopped by a waiting list. And we were connected to this parent support group, which expanded our network of angels.
We are immigrants to this country. We don’t have family here, and it’s hard. We don’t have that help which family provides. This group is our family. We are happy to come every Wednesday to group because to come here is a relief. We find here, a space to breathe. It is like therapy, these sessions.
In the group we have been helped. We don’t feel alone any more. We share experiences and give tips to each other and share what works. We learn from the parents of those with older kids. We get hope from them. We see their kids: they talk, they cook, and we know, okay, we can get there too.
We want to hear our child say I love you. That’s something we haven’t heard yet. That is just one of the hopes we had when our son, Cristian, was born two years ago. We thought he would be his older sister’s protector. We thought he would be her life-long companion, helping her navigate the world when we couldn’t be there. He was recently diagnosed with autism through Fraser, so we are struggling to let go of those expectations.
It is hard. We will never know what it’s like to have a neurotypical child. To play with a child, go out and throw a ball. We wanted that. But because of Fraser, we are learning to teach our children how to live as best they can. This group reminds us that our children are going to succeed and progress.
Given all of these struggles, we don’t know what to expect in 10 years. We take it day by day. We have Fraser. We know we will be okay. We are, all of us, in good hands.
-Cristian and Karla Arcos