Remember little Jacey? She's the four year old girl that let us into her world of Autism last year. Her mom, Amy Brooks, described her as a different baby and delayed from the start. She recalls, "life was very interesting when she was first diagnosed because we had a lot of behavioral issues based on communication and lack thereof".
It wasn't until Jacey lost the few words she had, that a diagnosis was finally made. Amy says, "they said that lovely word Autism, which you think you're going to hear something else, but of course not".
When we first met Jacey she was considered moderate on the spectrum. At that time she was only capable about 200 words. Board Certified Behavior Analyst with Quality Life Concepts, Erin Faulkner, says, "there's kind of a magic number of 250 words because once they have that much vocabulary, you should really start seeing an explosion of language".
Thanks to a number of intense therapy interventions, Jacey's progress shot off like a rocket and look at her now! Amy says, "you look at her and her peers and you would probably not be able to pick her out from her class".
Jacey is now five years old and attending kindergarten in a mainstream classroom in Vaughn. Amy explains, "yeah she's got some issues, but there's no reason she can't function in a classroom with proper supports".
Jacey gets one on one attention at school as well as individual sessions with specialists and she receives treatment through a non-profit corporation known as Quality Life Concepts that offers specialized treatments for people with developmental needs. At the same time, Jacey gets to just be a kid. Amy says, "for me, I wanted to make sure that she went to the same school and had the same experiences as her siblings".
Tomorrow, Jacey takes us to school to see what an inclusion classroom is like, meaning a class that has typically developing children as well as children with special needs, and how Jacey handles being part of the mainstream.