Bowen Oliver Finds His Voice

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by Mandy Oliver

When Bowen was almost three years old, we received a formal diagnosis of autism.

The diagnosis didn’t scare us, but the lack of therapies that were offered, particularly in our area of the country, did. We were looking at shuttling our child around to multiple 30 minute appointments, all in various cities, multiple times a week. We weren’t sure how we were going to live life or see any real change for our child. All of that frustration led us to keep seeking though, and that led us to NACD.

The moment I started reading on NACD’s website, I knew this was the program for us! NACD not only believes that you the parent are the best teacher and “therapist” for your child, but they also have the experience and years of success to show that they know what they are doing. Plus, your program can be done from home, meaning you have so much more time to truly make a difference for your child!

In September 2018 Bowen and I walked into our very first evaluation. Within minutes Lyn had taken my nervous energy and changed it into a cautious hope. She explained things about my child that I thought only I knew, and she explained them in a way that took a puzzle in my head and connected the pieces. It was as if she could read him like a book. She knew what we were struggling with, and she had a plan!

A year later Bowen is a very different child. Last year our communication was extremely basic and frustrating. He couldn’t tell us what he wanted or needed. Just getting through our day sparked tears for both parent and child and feeling like a failure as a mom because I didn’t know basic things like what he wanted to eat or drink. Now he speaks in full sentences and is starting to tell us what he dreams about at night and what he wants for Christmas. I know what scares him and what makes him happy. That in itself is priceless.

Bowen was in his “own little world” a lot of the time last year. That’s not the case anymore. On a weekly basis friends and family comment on the changes they see, and his leaps and bounds continue to amaze us.

Words will never, ever be adequate for how thankful I am for NACD—and really we’re just beginning.