‘Follow your gut’: Family, nonprofit stress importance of early diagnosis during Autism Awareness Month

‘Follow your gut’: Family, nonprofit stress importance of early diagnosis during Autism Awareness Month
Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 10:39 AM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Krista Branton said her son was three months old when she noticed he wouldn’t sit up properly and eventually wouldn’t crawl.

Branton trusted her gut and says you should too.

“If you start seeing things reach out to your doctor. Don’t be scared to. Get a second opinion if you need to. Advocate for your child,” said Branton.

Branton said doctors first tried physical therapy with her son Chase and he eventually started crawling when he was a year old, but she started noticing other things too.

“He didn’t want his hands touched or he didn’t want to sit crisscrossed. We noticed he wasn’t really speaking and he wouldn’t respond to his name,” said Branton.

Those concerns led to more doctor visits, occupational therapy, speech therapy and eventually an autism diagnosis when Chase was two years old.

Branton said she later found out about SOS Care in the Grand Strand and Chase started with Applied Behavioral Analysis or ABA therapy.

She said his communication and behavior have improved tremendously from therapy.

“He’s a lot calmer. Before he would bring us a cup and just throw it at us because he didn’t understand what to communicate, but now he can come to us and say drink, cup or open please,” said Branton.

SOS Care says the earlier a child is diagnosed with autism, the earlier they can begin early intervention services like ABA therapy.

Children as young as two years old can receive ABA therapy through SOS Care.

The therapy aims to help kids improve communication, self-care and safety skills through positive reinforcement.

Kids work one on one with a therapist and focus on the specific needs of the child.

Kevin Law, an SOS board-certified behavioral analyst said he loves seeing the kids he works with grow every day.

“That continued effort and pushing towards the same goal. Everyone kind of making them feel safe and keeping their sessions fun and exciting for them. We’re just always surprised at how they’re gonna grow,” said Law.

SOS Care also provides several other programs for kids like summer camps, social skills clubs and project lifesaver which provides those prone to wandering with bracelets so they can easily be found.

Branton said Chase, now five years old, has a Project Lifesaver bracelet that has also been very helpful because he likes to run often.

She said the importance of Autism Awareness Month is acceptance.

“They are no different than you and I. They should be accepted. Just because they learn a little different or a little slower doesn’t mean they can’t do a normal job or be whatever they want to be,” said Branton.

You can find out more information about SOS Care’s programs and resources by clicking here.