Alyssa's brother Dylan has autism, so when she was an infant, her family was looking for signs that she too might be on the autism spectrum. At the age of 3-4 months, her grandmother noticed that she seemed to be a bit rigid. She was also slightly behind developmentally.
Her mother Abby decided to get her tested, and Alyssa was diagnosed with autism at 18 months. “I was heartbroken a little bit,” Abby said. “I wondered why this was happening. I compared myself to others and wondered what I did wrong. I still have my moments, but it’s getting better.”
Alyssa has had a range of services, from center-based play therapy services to occupational therapy for feeding difficulties, but now that she is in school, a Fraser DSP (Direct Support Professional) comes to their home twice per week.
In-home services are different than center-based services, but skill-building in the home can be just as effective. Laurie Hubin, a Fraser DSP who works one-on-one with Alyssa, said that “it's a little more relaxed in the home setting. The kids can be more comfortable.”
“They work on bathing, dressing, grooming, which are difficult for Alyssa,” Abby said. “They seem to stick to it and work hard with her.”
There is also a convenience to in-home services. “I’m able to do household chores and get short breaks when they are there,” Abby said. “Fraser is a great help.”
Alyssa is getting the help she needs to be successful. “We spend time working on specific goals in fun ways,” said Laurie. “Since she started kindergarten, I've seen growth in attention span and following directions, which are important.”
“She is doing better than a year ago, and it’s fun to see," Abby said.