The LaPlante family, who reside in Niagara-on-the-Lake, a small farming community in Ontario, Canada, faced challenges finding resources for their 4-year-old son Lucas after receiving his autism diagnosis in 2021.
Lucas, who was in preschool at the time of his diagnosis, was having difficulty communicating his needs and was becoming increasingly frustrated at home and in the classroom. The family was caught in a cycle of waitlists until they learned about SARRC from a family friend whose grandson attended SARRC’s One-Week Parent Training — one of two formats offered to families depending on their schedule and location.
“Our friends couldn’t say enough great things about SARRC and the services they provide, and their grandson is flourishing,” Lucas’s grandmother Leah said. “With Lucas receiving his diagnosis during the pandemic and the long waitlists, we decided that SARRC was where we wanted to be.”
As a result, the family packed their bags and embarked on a 2,000-mile journey to SARRC, so Lucas and his mom Michelle could attend the One-Week Parent Training. This short-term program teaches strategies and equips parents to support their child’s social-communication development through hands-on practice. Additionally, the program’s one-week model allowed the family to learn all of the strategies that are offered in the 12-week format.
“The program features two formats which allow families living outside Maricopa County, out-of-state, or even out of the country to access effective strategies that can be applied to their child’s natural environment while being coached by a clinical consultant,” says Brittani Harris a SARRC senior clinical consultant.
While working with their consultant at SARRC the family had several goals in mind for Lucas, including appropriate ways to increase Lucas’s responsivity, requesting attention, initiating interactions, and engaging with others at home and in the classroom.
The LaPlante’s credit SARRC with providing invaluable tools and resources to help Lucas better communicate with their family, his teachers and his peers.
“It was so beneficial to work with our clinicians as they answered all our questions, and they gave us a lot of opportunities to use the skills we learned while they were in the room. We were praised and coached on the use of the new skills, as they set us up for success when we went back home.
“The program has given us the tools to bring out the best in Lucas and made us realize that he can be successful if we put the time in and utilize the tools, we learned to help him be the best that he can be. Since the program, Lucas has been initiating playtime and has learned the correct ways to get our attention and to use his voice," says Leah.
Not only has Lucas shown progress at home, but his teachers have also seen positive growth in his behavior.
“His school has seen a lot of improvement, and Lucas now calls all of his teachers by name and is starting to call the other students by their name as well,” shares Leah.
Through the strategies learned from SARRC’s One-Week Parent Training, the LaPlante family looks to continue supporting Lucas on his autism journey by utilizing the tools they learned.
Parent Training equips parents with strategies to help teach their child-appropriate language and social and play skills that will benefit their child and their family throughout a lifetime. Through coaching by a SARRC Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and hands-on practice, parents will learn about naturalistic and effective practices. Learn more about SARRC's Parent Training program »