D is only three and we have already gone through our fair share of providers.
We were steered toward an Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) evaluation after our insurance decided they would not cover D’s speech or ABA therapy. At his initial evaluation, the providers determined that D qualified for services. D was assigned a provider and we were happy that he was getting the help he needed.
At first, the provider would strictly come to our home and demonstrate therapy techniques for us to practice. She would come by once a week and we were seeing progress on D’s end. Finally, she suggested that she visit the daycare so she could coach his teachers there. After coming to our home for 2 months we felt comfortable she would provide services at his daycare.
About three months later we began to see some regression in D. This is not uncommon in children with ASD so we convinced ourselves this was a normal part of the process. I emailed her to ask about his progress and she sent me a “progress note” of her latest visit. It looked like everything was running smoothly.
Until his daycare teacher asked me if he was still getting services. I was slack-jawed. I spoke to his teacher and the director of the daycare and they both said they had not seen D’s provider for a while. We asked to see the sign in log for visitors and saw that the last time she signed in was the first week of April. It was July.
One of the things I like the most about that daycare is that they take meticulous notes on who stops by. Parents have an individual code they have to enter on a keypad and everyone else has to be buzzed in. They also have security cameras installed in every room. There was no way she could slip in unnoticed, sit down with my son for an hour and no one see a thing. I was devastated.
My son had not received services for over three months. My husband was livid and called her supervisor. She eventually admitted to not going to see my son because she was overwhelmed and figured he would be the least impacted. What in the actual *expletive*!
I can’t say it was all for naught though. That was a harsh lesson in ECS providers. This person took advantage of the fact that my son could not speak and our inexperience when their career is centered on helping children in need and their families. I admit I have a hard time trusting that D’s providers have his best interest in mind now.
It’s sad that one person, the very first person we were exposed to, ruined our trust in people who are supposed to help our son. We have had better luck since then, but that initial burn will stay with us.
If you are an ASD parent or family and you suspect something is not right with the services your child is receiving, please trust your gut and take action. I should have investigated further when I saw D’s regression but a part of me did not want to believe that an adult who was supposed to be helping him was actually neglecting him.