It’s a parent’s joy to see their child’s well-being intact. For Sean Wilson, a dad to Christopher, an adopted son living with autism and nonverbal disability, this joy has been amplified since his son began receiving therapy with remarkable results at Touro’s Sharon Sigesmund Pierce and Stephen Pierce Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities. Chris happened to be born with medical issues.

Chris’ development

First, a lip and tongue tie tied his tongue tip to the floor of his mouth. Another challenge was possible blindness. However, despite the initial setbacks, Chris’ development was on par with typical children’s —learning 50-100 words and eating regular meals. But then, there was a sudden halt in his progress, which surprised and concerned Wilson.

According to Wilson’s account, two years after Chris’ birth, his younger sister Alice was born, and her development highlighted the contrasting behaviors between the siblings. Other family members also pointed out Christopher’s atypical behaviors, leading the dad to seek medical testing.

The results confirmed that Christopher had autism and a chromosomal deficiency that may have contributed to his condition.  This revelation only strengthened Sean Wilson’s determination to provide Christopher with the best care and support possible.  It’s worth noting that Autism is a rapidly growing developmental condition, according to the National Autism Association. In Nevada alone, there are over 12,000 children who have been diagnosed with autism.

The challenge

The only challenge is that few centers cater to the needs of these children. Wilson, knowing this fact, immediately enrolled Christopher in therapy programs through the Clark County School District’s Find department. However, due to a high demand and limited availability of services, the young boy had been on a waitlist for four years before finally receiving assistance at the Pierce Autism Center.

He is now one of 31 clients currently being served by the center. It is worth noting that despite the high demand for services, the waitlist has been completely cleared. In a recent session at the Pierce Autism Center, Christopher was seen practicing the sign for “more”, a gesture involving pinching his four fingers and thumb together on each hand and tapping his fingertips together. This was just one of the many skills he is learning as part of his therapy, including identifying and discriminating between different objects.

According to his therapist, McConnell, Chris is currently developed enough to improve his social capabilities. However, for communication treatment, which has recently begun, he has already experienced rapid progress. She also noted that it typically takes a significant amount of time to observe the kind of advancements that Chris has demonstrated in just a few months. Considering Chris’ medical history and all he has gone through, his progress is truly remarkable – not only for surviving but also for exceeding expectations.

Nevada Autism

As we continue to learn about positive changes among loved ones who were unable to meet prior milestones, but are now making great strides, don’t forget also to take a moment to learn about the incredible organization Nevada Autism Center. Our organization strives to raise autism awareness and also provide high-quality ABA therapy to families impacted by Autism. To find out more about our services, click here.

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