Mason and Gabe's Story

When Amy Oelkers found out her son Mason was diagnosed with autism, she went through a whirl of emotions. “I was angry. I experienced grief. I couldn’t believe this was happening to our family,” she said. “I wish I could’ve told myself at that moment that help is out there, that I’m not alone and one day everything would be okay.”

Amy took Mason to the family pediatrician at the recommendation of his preschool teacher. They were then referred to Fraser, where he was evaluated and diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified).

“Right away Fraser staff picked up on Mason’s strengths and understood what and how he needed to learn,” Amy said. “Fraser staff taught Mason in a way that focused on him as an individual. They were very accommodating and understanding, making the lesson plan fit Mason’s needs.”

Shortly after Mason began skills training at Fraser, his brother Gabe was born. Knowing that autism is more common in a child if a sibling has it, Amy and her husband paid close attention to Gabe.

“We started to notice some behaviors in Gabe that were different from his peers and from Mason. We brought Gabe to Fraser for an evaluation and were surprised when he was diagnosed with PDD-NOS as well,” Amy said. “This is when we realized just how different autism is for every child, even siblings!”

Gabe needed different learning strategies than his brother, but Fraser once again geared techniques to fit Gabe’s personality and strengths. “I noticed a difference in both boys almost immediately,” Amy said. “They aren’t comfortable in very many places but they are at Fraser because they’ve been taught skills to help them function and excel without the struggle that they’d previously experienced.”

“It’s hard to accept something is different with your child, but early intervention is vital to success,” she said. “Mason and Gabe were both able to get therapy early and now attend mainstream schools. Seeing my children participate, make friends and just be happy little boys is a blessing.”

“Fraser has helped our entire family, not just Mason and Gabe. It’s now a joy doing things together as a family and we have Fraser to thank for that.”