Thank You, Karla

I have been inspired by other autism moms to share stories of people who have changed our lives as a special needs family.  We have been so blessed to have an amazing village of family, friends, and therapists who have been perfectly placed in our lives.

As a graduate student, I was placed at a pediatric outpatient clinic for my first offsite placement.  I knew instantly that I wanted to work there someday.  Fast forward two years, and I started working there.  My first "big girl job."  (insert a side "thank you" to Pam for placing me there!)

In those first few years of my career, I worked with amazing people.  I made friends whom I loved and respected.  Even though I am no longer working there, I remain close with them.  

I said in one of my very first posts that God puts people in our lives for a reason.  I wholeheartedly believe that I worked at this place so I would meet these specific people who would, one day, be a huge part of my support system.  

I knew in those early years that Colin was not ready for typical speech therapy.  He was not a "sit at the table" kind of kid.  I figured he would like music therapy, though.  

Enter the subject of this post, my music therapist friend, Karla. 

(I totally stole this picture from your Facebook profile!)

I'm not actually thanking Karla for her music therapist skills, although she is the best.  No, I have other things to thank her for!

First, she was the person who mentioned a gluten-free/casein-free diet.  This was the first big decision that we made for Colin that truly helped him.  That very evening, as I walked through the grocery aisles, I cried.  This diet was going to be hard and I just knew we couldn't do it.  The things he loved, he couldn't eat.  The things he was allowed to eat were expensive!

Two weeks into it though, Colin was a different kid.  He could focus and attend.  His belly didn't hurt like it had before.  His language skills started to improve almost immediately.  His eye contact improved drastically.  His incessant nightly screaming stopped.  I was sold.  I have since read several books about autism and the leaky gut, and it has all been true for Colin.

A year later, Colin was seeing Karla again.  She mentioned an ABA school to me.  I had a fairly negative view of ABA therapy at that point.  She said, "This school is different.  It will change the way you think about ABA."

She. was. right.  

After being on the waiting list for months, Colin finally got started.  I am an ABA believer now!  I see the science behind it, have seen it work for him, and I am amazed every day.

Karla, I value your opinion so very much.  Because you recommended the diet changes and ABA, I knew in my gut that we had to try it.  I am so glad that we did.

I have always admired you as a therapist.  The way you always connect with your clients is something I could only wish to do.  You truly see each kid for who they are, and you work to meet them where they are.  

Not only are you a wonderful therapist, but you are a good friend. This is why I value your opinion so highly - I know your heart, and it is good.  

Thank you, Karla.  💙


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