We began seeing Luke when he was approximately 3 years old. He was diagnosed with autism at that time.
He has always had a significant dyspraxia that has prevented his body from doing what it needs/wants and for his speech to be limited and somewhat “stuck.” His parents were told that he was “at a two year old level” when he was six years old. We presumed competence. We pushed ahead, and we presumed that he needed support to demonstrate his abilities and that he is, indeed, six years old. Luke reads at grade level, types to communicate and is fully included in his second grade classroom.
Our family has been seeing Stacy Pulley and Terri Cooper for six years now. I say our family because although my son Luke is the primary person receiving therapy services, our whole family reaps the benefits.
Some days when we show up for speech therapy or occupational therapy, Stacy and Terri can tell that it may not be Luke that needs the immediate therapy that day. It might be me, and if it is they will spend the time on me, to help put me in a good place to be able to deal with the challenges that life with autism brings.
They are also there for our other children and realize that this profoundly affects them as well. Many sessions have been spent “coaching” them to play and live with their brother.
The philosophy that they hold of “presume competence” has made a world of difference in not just how we treat people with autism but how the world around us treats people with autism.
I can honestly say that Luke would not be anywhere near where he is today without the love and guidance of Stacy and Terri and our family would not be as happy.