Burgoa Family

“We are always grateful for The Center”

Judy says with an affirmative nod as she looks over to her husband, Felix and their 14-year-old son, Jonathan, who sits patient and attentive in his chair. Judy explains that Jonathan has made an immense amount of improvement in his behavior since he first came to The Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders when he was almost four. Judy explains, “Before The Center, he would have been running around the room. He could not have stayed seated like this.”

Today, you would never know that Jonathan and his parents went through challenging trials at the beginning of their journey. The family sits peaceful and calm while exuding an inner strength that shows their mutual love and support for one another.

The secret to their overall success, Judy and Felix affirm, is all “thanks to The Center.”

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Jody Sheilds

It was August 2015 and one week before moving to a different country when Jody’s oldest son, Henry, was diagnosed with autism. Jody found herself overwhelmed by the move to California from Canada, while simultaneously looking for the best resources for her son in their new hometown.

Through Help Me Grow Orange County, Jody was introduced to The Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders. The Center has been instrumental in helping Jody navigate the world of autism. She talks about how helpful the parent support groups and workshops have been in making sure she is educated and prepared for what the future may hold.

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Rocha Family

“It’s been a long road but we are very lucky,” says Heather, mom of twin boys Frankie and Jacob.

Heather praises the programs at The Center, as they helped her work out her biggest frustrations in just one week. Initially, Frankie and Jacob were spending 25 hours each, per week in at-home therapy. Now, they spend 15 hours each, per week at The Center, and are showing significant signs of improvement.

On Heather’s advice to parents who have just received a diagnosis, “The best thing you can do is get in contact with The Center. They have everything for you, from workshops to support groups and they connect you with people who really understand what you go through on a day-to-day basis.”

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“I didn’t know much about autism so I wanted to educate myself. I started signing up for emails and newsletters from various resources and organizations. That’s when I got a notification from The Center for their Pacific Symphony event and that began our relationship with them,” Claudia said.

She hopes (and knows) that with continued support and services from The Center, Melody will be able to attend school where she will excel and socially interact with her peers and classmates.

“What I really want is to be able to communicate with my daughter,” concluded Claudia.

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Nellie Valentine

“I appreciate The Center’s individualized support for the children to whom they provide services,” Nellie said. “In each case, all of our children are on the spectrum but at different phases of development. The Center has a comprehensive way of communicating, investigating and obtaining data from families to design an individualized support program for us. It is not only seen in their staff of doctors and others providing treatment, but also in the community support they provide and the complementary workshops offered to enhance each child’s development.”

“The Center has definitely changed our lives,” concluded Nellie. “Not only by providing exceptional treatment to my children, but just as importantly for giving families with ASD access to comprehensive care, as well as research data and outcomes. It also helps that they work diligently to improve service on every level to those they serve.”

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Jennifer Jones

You could say Dylan is a veteran patient of
The Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Now 17 years old, he was diagnosed and began treatment at The Center when he was just four years old.

“I’ve learned to take all milestones and celebrate them. I don’t think we would be anywhere near where we are today without the help of The Center,” said Jennifer.

Jennifer concludes, “The Center really is a one- stop shop for people like me and other families. There is training for Dylan and even training for me and my other son. Everyone on your chain knows your child, they know you and they care.”

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Patel Family

Parool first noticed something was different about her son, Nikhil, around 18 months. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it.

Nikhil would look under the table, focused on the nails that kept it together. He would spin in perfect circles, but her husband said he was likely “just playing”. His speech was a bit delayed but a different language is spoken in the home so it wasn’t a red flag.

At age four and a half Parool signed him up for social skills classes at the Center. She viewed this as a priority knowing one day soon Nikhil would enter school and begin to make friends. The social skills class gave both her and Nikhil the ability to interact directly and in real-time with other children Nikhil’s age.

“The social skills class from The Center has really made the biggest impact. He has learned the importance of sharing and of perspective taking,” said Parool.

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Rosie and Habibi Martinez

After a check up at their Dr.’s office, Rosie was informed that Habibi who was diagnosed with autism also struggled with anxiety. Part of what had been aggravating his anxiety was increasing awareness that he was starting to fall behind in his classes. Like all cyclical problems, it seemed that the more anxious Habibi became about falling behind, his ability to focus dwindled and he would fall behind further. Their Dr. was aware that Rosie wanted to pursue treatment options, aside from medication. At this point, Rosie was referred to The Center for Autism to try out their controlled study of anxiety intervention therapy that was geared towards helping children combat their anxiety and other social communication problems. Rosie signed Habibi up for a controlled therapy trial comparing a physical exercise program with a sedentary therapy program. Fortunately, Habibi and Rosie were selected to be one of the families in The Center’s free intervention study.

Each of The Center’s therapy programs gave Habibi fun and practical ways to work through his anxiety and develop successful social behaviors. Rosie affirmed that even today, long after the therapy sessions have concluded, Habibi is still using and benefitting from the activities he learned at The Center.

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