From the parent of a 6 year-old child...
"Denise is a treasure. She has utilized her skills as an ABA therapist, combined with her incredible patience and compassion to help our son learn new, more positive behaviors. Furthermore, no matter how difficult his behavior, she is able to look past that and see his good qualities and potential. She is a great source of encouragement and support for our whole family."
~Mother of a 6 year old child
From the parent of a 5 year-old child...
"Being a parent is hard work. It has a lot of great moments, but at the same time, it has a lot of responsibilities and commitments. I often heard the phrase: “It takes a village…” when referring to raising a child, but nowadays, that phrase alongside “It is what it is,” and “One day at a time” is what keeps me going while handling my son’s Autism. Luis Joel (LJ) was diagnosed with mild to moderate PDD/ASD in April 2012. He was 3 yrs. old at the time. He was non-verbal, had sensory issues, poor motor skills (among other things) and was referred by his Neurologist to take 4 hours a week of Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy each. As many parents with kids in the spectrum or with a similar diagnosis knows, you need to be careful and so aware of your mental state not to get overwhelmed with the plethora of information and “cures” to “fix” your kid that are “available” everywhere. Hence, all the “unsolicited, well-intentioned” advice people are ready to provide.
I have a good friend in Orlando, Florida whose child was diagnosed with severe Autism back in 2003. Her being a “veteran” in trying all types of therapies, supplements, diets, exercises, drugs, etc. and having spent every amount of money imaginable in resources for her sweet boy, have sound advice on what works and what didn’t. When LJ was diagnosed, she was one of my “go to” persons for advice. At that time, she simply said,“If you have limited financial resources to treat your son, invest them in ABA.” This has been the best advice that I’ve received in our journey dealing with Autism. Denise Ray, M.Ed., BCBA came to our lives in November 2013, she started working with Luis after he was evaluated to start receiving ABA and the goals we were going to work on. I often tell people what gets us going in this “day to day” journey is our faith in God. However, I do respect all people beliefs and their spirituality. What I can give testimony on is how Denise is “our answered prayer.” I truly believed she is a “miracle worker” and that her mission in life is to help children and their families dealing with this type of diagnosis. When Denise started working with LJ, his communication and language were non-functional, it was mostly echolalia. His eye contact was also limited, as well as other skills that we have been working with him with his team of amazing teachers, Speech and Occupational Therapists but with little success.
Our child never ceased to amaze and surprise us. I’m still figuring out his world, but one thing that I find interesting is that when he makes a connection emotionally with someone, he responds. More so, if he founds someone that gives him structure, discipline and challenges him, in the beginning, he resists, but then, that person won a best and loyal friend for life. LJ simply loves Denise. He responds beautifully to her, and she makes him work! But in a 6 months period since we started ABA, he is able to focus for longer periods of time in a task. He is using phrases, words and sentences appropriately, plus better communicating his needs. (He never did in the past; it was a “guessing game” for us to know what was going on with him.) We have had the blessing of having a team as I call of “miracle workers and guardian angels” because not everybody is suit to work with this special kind of audience. One thing that we truly appreciate from Ray’s Hope is the wholesome approach they give to each of their families. Not only they teaches us as a family on how to better understand and work with LJ, but also enable us to better understand his needs, the needs of his teachers, therapists and his surroundings including it as part of his program.
If you have a child on the spectrum or have been toying with the idea of doing ABA, do it. As my friend wisely said to me: “It is the best investment you can make for your child and your family in this special journey.” We don’t have enough words to thank Ray’s Hope and Denise on everything they have done for LJ and our family, but most of all, for letting LJ’s “ray of light” shine through him for the world to see."
~Luis, Joelyn, Luis Joel (LJ) and Edwin Miguel Lopez
The Lopez Family
"LJ simply loves Denise. He responds beautifully to her, and she makes him work!"