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Episode 5

Living With Autism

Carolyn & Lucas

What kind of life can I expect for my child with autism?

That’s the most common question and fear parents have. In this episode, we talk to Carolyn, a mom, and her 20-year-old son Lucas about what it was like for him growing up with autism, and what life is like now living as an adult with autism. You’ll love this family, just like we do.

Carolyn  

Having to drop him off at school every day, I wasn’t allowed out of the car. The principal or the counselor would come and pick him up, basically detach his little fingers from my arms and take him. Screaming, kicking, crying, and the other parents would just stare. And it’s not like you could walk around with a T-shirt that says it all on the back. Like, “Don’t worry, my kid has this. He’s not a spoiled brat. He’s just suffering. This is hard for him.” It is gut wrenching.

Gene   

That’s Carolyn York, talking about her son Lucas. This is An Introduction to Autism. And this episode is about living with autism. This podcast series is for parents concerned their child might be showing signs of autism. It’s a compassionate evidence based series that provides hope and guidance. You’ll learn about the signs your child might have autism, and how early diagnosis and treatment have the best outcomes. This series is produced by Dr. Jane Howard and Coleen Sparkman from therapeutic pathways in Northern California. I’m your host, Gene Gates. I’ve known Carolyn and Lucas for a long time. They were neighbors of mine. And Lucas was the first kid I got to know who has autism. So Lucas, I first met you when you were pretty young, like six or something.

Lucas  

Right. Yeah. 

Gene   

But I thought maybe we’d start what they call the “Small E’s”, you go to the end of the story, and then you come all the way back to the beginning. So I thought we’d start near the end. Because Lucas, you’re such an interesting and dynamic person. And I love knowing you as an adult, comparing you as a child. So you’re how old now? 

Lucas  

I am currently 20.  

Gene   

As a 20 year old, do people even know that you have autism or you’re on the spectrum? How do you like to say it? That you are on the spectrum? That you were diagnosed with autism? You used to have autism? How do you describe your condition yourself? 

Lucas  

Yeah, when it comes to other people that I meet, most of the time, it’s not something that I usually bring up to other people. Just because I feel like there’s definitely a stigma associated with it, that if you tell other people, their opinion of you might change, or they might treat you a certain way just because of what they think autism is. So definitely, I don’t tell everybody. But I think the people that are close in my life, I definitely go ahead and tell them because I feel like there’s trust there. 

Gene   

So I’m talking to you, and you’re a 20 year old man. I don’t see any signs of autism or anything that would be considered out of the normal of any other 20 year old that I’m talking to. Do you feel that way? Do you feel like autism is part of my past, or it is part of my present? How do you view this autism? 

Lucas  

Yeah, it’s interesting, because I feel like having autism, or growing up with it, you have IEP classes in school just to get the extra support that you need. Because there is kind of a gap there that you have to catch up to. 

Gene   

Do you still identify as somebody with autism, or somebody who used to have autism?

Lucas  

For a large period of time, there was a certain sense that I didn’t feel like I was in the common crowd, or I wasn’t able to relate with everybody when I was in school or in different places. So there was a certain sense of, “I want to disassociate myself with autism, because I don’t want that to affect how other people see me. And I want people to see me for who I am, instead of just seeing that label.” 

But there was a certain time in high school where I could have gotten extra support when I moved into college, and I could have had my IEP papers. And I could have used that to be like, “Okay Lucas, you can get extra help if you take this.” And I had to decide whether or not I wanted to. And I just got rid of the papers. And I got re-diagnosed, still autistic, but it was more of just I was trying to hide from it. And I realized it’s still a part of me. I see it as a part of me, just because there are certain struggles that I still have that are very much autism based that would be bad if I didn’t really accept it or acknowledge it. 

Gene   

So when you’re meeting somebody and you’re getting into a relationship, let’s say you’re getting into a serious relationship with somebody who you can see as being a life partner, how do you bring up that you have a diagnosis of autism? And what questions do they normally have for you when you say that?

Lucas  

Yeah, it’s actually kind of funny. I went to culinary school for a semester. It wasn’t really my bag, but I met a few people that I really liked, who I was friends with for a few years. And I did actually tell them that I was autistic. And they’re both very laid back people. And it wasn’t really anything that serious. 

They actually joked about it quite a bit. I think one time I was just posing in front of a car with a cap on and they were like, “Autism Awareness Month.” It was just a joke; they weren’t taking it too seriously, which is really nice to see that. And I think they could also see that I was still capable of joking around as well. But for some people, they still take it a little seriously. They’ll be like, “Okay, how has that been affecting you?” And then some other people just joke around and not really care.

Gene   

And so if you were going to describe it to somebody, if somebody says, “Well, what do you mean you have autism?” Because you just seem, I hate the term normal, but you just seem so normal. How would I even know that you have autism? How would it manifest? 

Lucas  

If the situation came up. Like maybe they wanted to go out, I think I might go out with them. But I would reach a certain point where I would want to stay inside and be more introverted in terms of how much I’d want to spend time with people.

Gene   

Do you still prefer to be around smaller crowds or be introverted? Do you still identify as an introvert?

Lucas  

Yeah, I’d say so for sure. And I think that the desire to hang out with people isn’t as strong as a lot of kids that I’ve observed that are my own age. I would just rather be inside and just do my own thing. But still the desire to hang out with people and make relationships is still there. But I’d say that it is just more difficult for me to understand the dynamics of relationships and to get my head around it. But the desire is still there. So I think it ends up with me being a little bit more introverted.

Gene  

You know what I find interesting is when you say that you’re also pursuing a career as an actor. 

Lucas  

Yeah.

Gene   

So as a performer, I understand some people get on stage and they become a different person, which I guess by definition is acting. But even singers, performers, they’re completely different when they’re on stage versus when they’re offstage. So when you say, “I’m an introvert. I don’t really like to be around people, but I really enjoy acting, and I would love to do that as a full time career.” How do you make those two things coexist? Because they sound like they’re opposites. 

Lucas  

Yeah, that’s a good question. I played Rocky for Rocky Horror Picture Show last October. If you know Rocky of Horror Picture Show, it is a very out there character because he wore sparkly gold underwear, goes out without clothes, and he also sings. When I was doing rehearsals for that, I think it was about a month or two of rehearsing dance, choreography, singing, and just meeting the cast and the director and stuff like that, I actually was shy during rehearsal. So is not like I was super outgoing. I’ll just sit in my chair, study my script, and then go ahead and just do what I needed to do. 

But I wasn’t making a lot of conversation with people. I wasn’t like that; I was still reserved, because I still felt shy about it. But when it came to, it was at a one night show. And it was at a bar type place called The Great Ego. It was two shows, one night. And even when I was backstage, I was still nervous, and my heart was beating super-fast. And my entrance onto the show was me being kept inside a box because that’s where I get created. And then I go out with my gold underwear and then I just start singing at the top of my lungs. “Oh, my God, the store Damocles hanging.” And I was nervous, like, “Oh, am I going to forget the words?” or, “Am I going to say something wrong?” But it was nice, because the audience doesn’t know that you’re autistic. The audience doesn’t know the shyness that you have backstage. So there is a separation between you and the character when you go up and you internalize that and be like, “I’m rocky now, I’m not Lucas. And these people came for a show. So you better give it to them.” 

Gene   

So Carolyn, Lucas, we’re going to talk about you. I hope you don’t mind. So at what age did you come to realize that your son was maybe on the spectrum? 

Carolyn  

He was probably three when we knew. I mean, we knew before that he was struggling to speak, he just wasn’t talking at all, not communicating with anybody. By the time he was about three, he had no eye contact with anybody. His older brother is the one that communicated for him. So Lucas would stand somewhere and stare at something and we would try to get him to talk, but he wouldn’t respond. So his older brother, who is two and a half years older, would say, “This is what he wants.” Or “He wants this in the fridge,” or “He wants to go outside.” But Lucas himself never spoke. He started speaking probably when he was about five, I would say we started getting some words out of him. But before then there were no words. If we were to walk outside with him, he would just walk along with us head bent, he would not look at people. So we knew right away. By the time he was four we were like, “Okay, yeah, definitely something is going on here.”

Gene   

Real quickly about his older brother, was he able to communicate with Lucas? Or was he able to make some kind of leap or an assumption about what Lucas wanted? Could you elaborate on his ability to be “The Lucas whisperer,” we’ll call him.

Carolyn  

I think he made assumptions, definitely. But he followed his little brother around everywhere. So if we were to be in a group of people, a social event or something like that, his older brother would basically be following him because Lucas had a tendency to put his head stare down and start to walk, and you could lose him. And we lost him many times. And at one point, we had to put a monitor on him. Because in just a few seconds, he would disappear. Because he would follow his little trail and be gone. So his older brother started following him around, they were like two little chickens, one behind the other. Sebastian, his older brother, always was on what Lucas was trying to say. 

Gene   

Any idea why he knew what Lucas was saying, or trying to communicate?

Carolyn 

Not at all, I don’t know how he figured it out. But he did. And most of the time, he was right, he would say, “Mom, this is what he needs.” And they were very close. And he was just extremely protective of him. So like I said, he wouldn’t let him out of his sight.

Gene   

So this is 15 years ago that you were seeking treatment. How aware were you of what autism is, and what treatments would be appropriate? 

Carolyn  

We knew very little about it. We really didn’t know anything about autism at the time. And then when it happened, when he was diagnosed, we were told that it could be environmental, that is why and I’m not sure. I mean, we didn’t really know what caused it. I can tell you, he was diagnosed the first time, because he was diagnosed a few times. So the first time he was diagnosed, he was about three years old. One of the things we discovered is he also had some pretty serious sensory issues, so he couldn’t stand having certain things on his skin touching him, he couldn’t stand lights, like bright lights overhead, so he could never be in an auditorium with other kids. Where there were a lot of people, like I said, he would bend his head and try not to have eye contact. If it was winter, he had a toque on his head, he would put it over his face so he wouldn’t have to look at anyone. I think by the time we made it from home to school, he barely had any clothes left on. He would strip all the way down because he couldn’t stand the clothes on him. So there were all sorts of things like that. When he played in groups at school, he would line things up. I know they say that a lot. Like the kids are going to take all their little toys, and they’re going to line them up. And it all makes super sense. And he gets frustrated if anybody came and moved whatever toys he had lined up. First things that we noticed.

Gene   

And as you went for treatment, did you notice a gradual improvement? Or was it more binary, like there was a moment where it clicked and changed? Or was it gradual?

Carolyn  

Matthew, and I learned how to work with him. We knew that every let’s say three months or so, there would be something new that would pop up. I could give you an example. There was a moment in time when he was I would say maybe about 10; he was saying I love you all the time. So every second sentence out of his mouth was I love you. So we had to work with him for months on that, like how to show him that he didn’t have to do that and he didn’t have to tell us that all the time. There was another point in time where he couldn’t walk into a store. He had to stay at the door and let everybody come in. And he couldn’t leave the door until he felt like every single person walking towards the store came in. 

Gene   

So Carolyn it is interesting because some of the stuff you’re talking about, it almost seems like things we associate with OCD, right? Some of these behaviors of lining of things and letting everybody in. Are those two things close? OCD and autism, are they close? Or are they confusing trying to get an accurate diagnosis?

Carolyn  

I think they’re close. I mean, there came a point where I was starting to disagree with the help that we were getting because I felt that what we were doing was helping him more. He had support in school, for sure he needed help at school with his work. So that was great. But when it came to home, we had our own therapy for him. And I’ll tell you, the biggest thing with Lucas was always that he knew he was loved, he knew he was supported. And that whichever way he came out, he’s an amazing person. And he’s one of these people that I just love being around. He’s just this really great guy, and the things that we did and to be patient with him. So when he struggled, at one point he would bump into a box and say, “I’m sorry.” So can you imagine the amount of people he said sorry to. And that went on for about four months. So we had to be patient with him, and we worked on it and then it goes away. And then boom, something else would happen, and then we would work on that. That’s all we did. And now if you see him, you can’t tell, you wouldn’t know. I was worried that we would have to create something that would give him a future. He’s such a different person than he was when he was a kid. And not only can he take care of himself, he’s there for his dad and I and there for his brother. He’s probably one of the hardest working people I know. But he’s not the guy that wants to go to college for three or four years. He wants a different career. And acting is something that he’s always thought about and decided that he was going to pursue; that and childcare. He’s worked in childcare for the past four years. So he’s amazing with other children. And I think his own experience has helped him be that good with other kids. 

Gene   

I remember a moment when Lucas was young. And I don’t know if you remember any of these moments, Lucas. But I remember there was a moment when we were all in the backyard in the alley together. And there was some noise, or there was some event and Lucas put his hands over his ears and just started screaming at the top of his lungs. And nobody could really communicate with him or get through to him. He was like in this catatonic frozen state of just screeching at the top of his lungs. Do you remember that event? Or did that happen on more than one occasion?

Carolyn  

It happened on more than one occasion. Like I said, even things like auditoriums, the sound of the lights, the buzzing of the lights would drive him crazy. So we would be in an auditorium with a group of kids, and they’re all doing their activities, and then suddenly, the lights are off. The lights have been switched off and it’s Lucas, because he knows how to switch them off. And it was driving him crazy. So yes, sounds. It is the same thing with flushing. When he was kid and flushing, he couldn’t stand the sound. 

Lucas  

That’s funny, because I remember that. As a kid when I was in elementary school in the auditorium, I actually remember turning off the lights switch once. And it went dark, I actually remember that. Same thing with flushing the toilet. I flushed the toilet, then I would run out in the bathroom and cover my ears. I don’t know what it was, but those toilets in that school were so incredibly loud. And almost did it on purpose to be honest. I don’t know why the toilets had to be so loud. It was crazy.

Gene   

So I would imagine as a parent Carolyn, there are a lot of these moments that are new and shocking. 

And you don’t know what’s happening. And you don’t know how to fix it as a parent, I assume. Until you learn. Until you learn “Oh, I get it. He doesn’t like the lights in the auditorium.” But that isn’t something that you know probably the very second that it happens for the very first time, right?

Carolyn  

It takes years. Because sometimes it is just something different, and it is not the same thing that happened; it is a different behavior. So it takes years of figuring it out. And one day you go, “Oh, my goodness, this is just a pattern. We’re just doing this all over again.” It is just something else.

Gene   

So how do you get from that to what we have today? Because again, Lucas at 20, I don’t see any signs of autism. So he seems like a fully independent, educated, wonderful, young man. How did you get there?

Carolyn  

At the beginning, we had a lot of therapy for sensory issues. So it was hard to say I’m going to give my kid lots of love when he didn’t want to be hugged. He didn’t want to be touched. So, that’s something that I thought was really beneficial to us with a therapist, to learn what to do to help him calm down. We were always hugging him, always holding him.

Gene   

I thought you said he didn’t like to be hugged.

Carolyn  

He didn’t. But he had to learn.

Gene   

So you did it anyway?

Carolyn  

I did it anyway.

Lucas  

Use force. 

Gene   

Lucas, do you remember those times? First of all, I’ll start by how you feel today. Do you still have a sensitivity to light?

Lucas  

No, not really. I think maybe there are some occasions where I like to be in the dark. I like to just be in a dark room. But if you’d like to know, the best way I could describe the sensation or the feeling of when there’s something that’s really strong, whether it’s a light or a sound is I could feel it partially even now. But when I was a kid, it was a lot stronger. So maybe if there was a really heavy flushing sound, I would get this kind of gut chest feeling and everything just felt very overwhelming. 

Gene   

So is it like fight or flight? Were you having this adrenaline rush?  

Lucas  

It just freaked me out. For the noise, I couldn’t wrap my head around it. It just felt very overwhelming to me. And I just had to close my ears. 

Gene   

Was it more anxiety? Or was there actual physical pain associated with the noise? 

Lucas  

Not a physical pain, just discomfort. Discomfort, but like rapid discomfort. Like going very fast; just mental discomfort. Like that and this happens very quickly until I have covered my ears to support to just kind of pass 

Gene   

And do you still have some sensory issues? Some touch feel kind of stuff?

Lucas  

No. I remember when I was little, I know the tags of underwear and sometimes socks would definitely bother me. I couldn’t stand sensation of a tag up on my behind while I was wearing a pair of underwear. We got those, but right now, I don’t have any of those issues. It doesn’t bother me. 

Gene   

So you don’t wear underwear at all anymore? Is what you’re saying? 

Lucas  

Yeah, I just gotta  let it breathe.

Gene   

So really, it sounds like what’s left and that is what you might consider a symptom of autism. Is it mainly like you don’t like to be around big crowds and you’re a bit of an introvert?

Lucas  

Yeah, if it is symptoms, I definitely sound introverted or tend to be more introverted. The desire to hang out with people is still there. But it’s harder for me to comprehend relationships. It just doesn’t come naturally to me to make friends or to really understand what a friend is. To me, that doesn’t come naturally. Even when I was a kid, it’s not like I had that one friend as a kid where that developed over time, where I had it for a period of time, and I felt a really strong connection with that person.

Gene   

Help me understand the difference then Lucas. Because it seems like when I see you, you’re just a happy normal guy who’s just happy and friendly. 

Lucas  

Yeah, it can be both of those things. I think I am a happy person, I’m a positive person. I mean everyone gets negative sometimes. I think it’s more of just having those developed relationships that I haven’t really had in my life. Which is one thing that I don’t really understand: is having those friendships that aren’t like your mom, your dad, your brother or the family that’s with you every single day. I think it takes a relatively longer period of time for someone that does have autism to open up a little bit. Even if it doesn’t show on the outside, it definitely takes a little longer to trust and open yourself up to a relationship.

Carolyn  

Watching Lucas, because he lives with us, I think it’s a need versus a “Is it a need or is it a desire?” So with a lot of people, there’s that need to have companionship constantly and friendships constantly. But in his case, he just doesn’t see that. He doesn’t need that. So the other day he decided, he said, “I’m going horseback riding.” I’m like, “When did you last go horseback riding?” He said, “I don’t know. I must have been 12.” And I said, “You’re just going?” And he goes, “Yeah.” “Do you want to go with anybody?” “No, I’m good.” And so he called the place and they said, “Are you coming with anyone?” And he said, “No, just me.” And he ended up going and came back and said, “Oh, I met these two girls my age. They were great. We had a great time.” So there’s no issue with being put in that situation and meeting somebody, I think it’s not caring to. Does that make sense?  

Gene   

100%. Because some people need that. They need the companionship of another person. 

Carolyn  

Yeah. 

Gene   

It sounds like Lucas doesn’t necessarily need that, but he can still enjoy it. But he doesn’t crave it or need it per se. Is that what you’re saying

Lucas  

I’m definitely not saying that I don’t enjoy hanging out with people. That’s not the case. If there’s someone there, I will have fun with them. If we vibe we vibe. I’m not stopping myself from having a good time.

Gene   

So what do you think are some of the things that are misunderstood about autism as it relates to someone who’s your age and where you are in life? Because you said that sometimes you worry about telling people because it might change what they think of you. 

Lucas  

Right.

Gene   

So I wonder where that’s coming from.

Lucas  

Yeah, I don’t know. I think maybe there’s this fear that once I tell someone, they’ll start being able to see certain things that I do, or maybe mannerisms or whatever. And they’ll be like, “Oh, maybe that has to do with his autism.” I’m afraid other people are going to make it bigger than it actually is once they know, instead of just being like, “Okay, that’s Lucas, that’s just him.” And then I kind of turn into the person with autism, and then they see it in that way, which I don’t really want it to be seen.

Gene   

What about you Carolyn? Are there any things that you think people misunderstand about the diagnosis? 

Carolyn  

Yeah. You witnessed it, the screaming, the screeching and all that is coming, you can’t control that as a parent. It’s just going to happen.

Lucas  

Yeah.

Carolyn  

But it’s just having to drop him off at school every day, I wasn’t allowed out of the car, or I wasn’t allowed past a certain point. Because the principal or the counselor would come and pick him up, basically detach his little fingers from my arms and take him screaming, kicking, crying. And yeah, the other parents would just stare. And it’s not like you could walk around with a T-shirt that says it all on the back. Like, “Don’t worry, my kid has this. He’s not a spoiled brat. He’s just suffering. This is hard for him.” But yeah, it was gut wrenching. So we did this all year, and by the end of the year, he was okay. Then we would start the next year. Yeah, that was crazy. 

Gene   

Your story is one of extreme success. What advice can you give to a parent who’s just starting this journey? 

Carolyn  

I would say give your kid a lot of love, a little bit more attention. You don’t need to follow what everybody tells you to do, just your gut instinct. With Lucas, it was constantly reinforcing with him, that he was a good person and that maybe he felt different to other people, but it doesn’t matter. None of us are born the same. We’re all different people. But all the time, you had to constantly reinforce, “You’re a good person you’re a smart guy.” And then he’d come back and say, “Well, these kids at school were saying this, or they were saying that.” A lot of the time, I used to say, “When other people are being mean to you, it is usually because somebody is being mean to them. Talk things through.” And all through high school, he would find a way to get into the bathroom. He had a phone, he would call me from the bathroom and say, “Mom, this is what’s happening right now. I can’t breathe. I’m having anxiety. I can’t breathe, please help me. What do I do?” And we would talk it through. And then he’d managed to go back to class and do the rest of the day. So it’s constantly being there for those moments that they need it and to remember that they’re wired differently. You can’t treat them the way you would treat their brother or their sister. Because they are different. Right? They think differently.

Gene   

That’s beautiful. I think that’s absolutely beautiful. Lucas, is there anything we haven’t talked about that you want to share or tell people about your experience?

Lucas  

Yeah, school is hard. So I feel like that’s the general rule. Not necessarily.

Gene   

What age were you when you graduated high school?

Lucas  

I was 17 when I graduated high school.

Gene   

Okay, well, that’s outside the norm. I know a lot of people on the autism spectrum, they expect them to be 20 or so when they get out of high school. So 17 sounds younger, not older. How did you get out of high school at 17?

Lucas  

Yeah, I actually graduated a semester earlier.

Gene   

I’m so confused. How? I thought you needed extra help to study and learn, and all of a sudden you graduate early. What happened there?

Lucas  

Well, it just turned out I was able to take all of my credits before the end of the year. So I was able to graduate. 

Gene   

If you just said, here’s the average, here’s the bar of normal or average, right? Are there things that you’re higher? 

Lucas  

I’d say I’m pretty good at vocabulary and English. 

Gene   

And good looks probably? 

Lucas  

Good looks, yeah. No, I’m joking. 

Gene   

The Golden voice. 

Lucas  

Yeah. This is 105.1FM. 

Gene   

Carolyn, Lucas, you’re awesome. Thank you guys for sharing your stories with us today.  

Lucas and Carolyn 

Okay. Thanks Lucas. Bye. 

Gene   

You’re listening to An Introduction to Autism. A show for parents concerned their child might have autism. It’s a compassionate, evidence based series that provides hope and guidance. Coming up in Episode Six, you’ll learn how to communicate with an autistic child. If you want to stay in touch with best practices to give your child their fullest life. Just subscribe to this podcast. You’ll also find great resources in the show notes and at www.tpathways.org. Thanks for listening. And until next time, I’m Gene Gates.

 

1. How old is your child or dependent?

2. What are your goals for your child?

3. Has your child been given a formal diagnosis of autism?

4. What types of behavior is your child demonstrating?





Please select a value.

Readiness

Your answers indicate that your child may be best treated in the Readiness program. This individualized, evidence-based program teaches young children skills they need to accelerate their learning and gain independence. Using imitation and naturalistic learning techniques, your child will develop useful skills in the areas of speech and language, cognition, and self-awareness. A program for children ages 0-3. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Foundations

Your answers indicate that your child may be best treated in the Foundations program. This program gives preschool and school-age children the structure to achieve important social, emotional, and intellectual milestones, helping them test within their peers’ range. With 25+ hours of applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy per week, your child will develop social skills and better self-awareness for school and home. A program for children ages 4-7. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Breakthroughs

Your answers indicate that your child may be best treated in the Breakthroughs program. Specifically designed for children who have limited hours due to school schedules, this program removes life barriers by developing communication, social, and self-help skills. We teach your child to engage in appropriate behaviors, helping them interact with peers and develop relationships. A program for children ages 8-11.

Interactions

Your answers indicate that your child may be best treated in the Interactions program. Through guided social skills groups twice a week, this program helps improve social functioning in children ages 5 to 16. Parent or caregiver participation is crucial to this program; our certified staff provides training for successful participation.

Independence

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited for the Independence program. Geared toward older children, this program includes more in-depth skills that will help your child function independently. Taught skills include functional communication, self-management, and financial literacy. A program for individuals ages 12-25. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Your Child My Be Suited to Multiple Programs

Independence

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited for the Independence program. Geared toward older children, this program includes more in-depth skills that will help your child function independently. Taught skills include functional communication, self-management, and financial literacy. A program for individuals ages 12-25. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Strategies

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited for the Strategies program. The most age-encompassing of our programs, the goal of Strategies is to reduce challenging behaviors and issues with aggression. These behaviors interfere with independence and community participation, so we work to mitigate those challenges and encourage safe, appropriate behavior for individuals of any age. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Strategies

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited for the Strategies program. The most age-encompassing of our programs, the goal of Strategies is to reduce challenging behaviors and issues with aggression. These behaviors interfere with independence and community participation, so we work to mitigate those challenges and encourage safe, appropriate behavior for individuals of any age. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Breakthroughs and/or Interactions

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited to the Breakthroughs or Interactions programs. These programs treat similar symptoms, so Therapeutic Pathways will need to meet with you and your child before we can place them within the appropriate program.

Specifically designed for children who have limited hours due to school schedules, Breakthroughs removes life barriers by developing communication, social, and self-help skills. We teach your child to engage in appropriate behaviors, helping them interact with peers and develop relationships.

Through guided social skills groups twice a week, Interactions helps improve social functioning in children. Parent or caregiver participation is crucial to this program; our certified staff provides training for successful participation.

*This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Your Child My Be Suited to Multiple Programs

Breakthroughs and/or Interactions

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited to the Breakthroughs or Interactions programs. These programs treat similar symptoms, so Therapeutic Pathways will need to meet with you and your child before we can place them within the appropriate program.

Specifically designed for children who have limited hours due to school schedules, Breakthroughs removes life barriers by developing communication, social, and self-help skills. We teach your child to engage in appropriate behaviors, helping them interact with peers and develop relationships.

Through guided social skills groups twice a week, Interactions helps improve social functioning in children. Parent or caregiver participation is crucial to this program; our certified staff provides training for successful participation.

*This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Strategies

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited for the Strategies program. The most age-encompassing of our programs, the goal of Strategies is to reduce challenging behaviors and issues with aggression. These behaviors interfere with independence and community participation, so we work to mitigate those challenges and encourage safe, appropriate behavior for individuals of any age. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.