A journey of love, lessons and challenges is how Idalis Acevedo describes life since her son, Aiden, was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. “I was unfamiliar with autism,” Idalis, of Shillington said. “I didn’t know what he would or wouldn’t be able to do.”
Today, Aiden is nine years old and is mostly nonverbal. His mom shares that he can also be extremely energetic, which can be challenging for people who do not know Aiden or understand his autism.
Making friends is difficult for Aiden. An after-school social program at Easterseals, a United Way agency partner, helps Aiden develop friendships with other kids in a safe and understanding environment. Easterseals also provides Aiden with speech and occupational therapy to help him develop skills his mother hopes he will use for the rest of his life. “It’s good; it has given him a new perspective and he has done a 180,” Idalis said. “When he first started therapy he had a five-minute attention span, now he can do 45 minutes. He went from speaking about 10 words to now saying 20 to 30 words.”
Idalis is grateful for the care Aiden receives at Easterseals. “Kids with autism just want to be loved,” Idalis said. “They want to know that they matter in this world, too.”