Our son, Noah, received an autism diagnosis when he was three years old. He is verbal but has repetitive speech and many delays. Like many families when they receive that diagnosis, we went through a season of grief and then began the journey of getting our son the therapy he needs to learn life skills and thrive. We researched ABA therapy and hoped it would help Noah with his repetitive speech, his overwhelming fascination with stickers and play cars, and with his inability to answer simple questions or communicate his needs. Most of all, we hoped ABA would provide Noah the coping skills he needed to stop hitting his head into the wall or floor and the aggressive behaviors he had towards us. We decided to try anything that offered hope. We began at the Autism Center in early 2018 after relocating back to North Mississippi. Noah had been in ABA therapy for a little over a year before we moved to Mississippi. We knew our move would be hard on him, and we were nervous about finding a reputable ABA clinic. We were referred to the Autism Center in Tupelo and started talking with them about getting Noah therapy. After Melissa toured the center, all she could say was how amazing and happy the clinic was. She left amazed by the facilities, reassured by the heart and passion of the staff, and confident that we had found the right place for Noah.
We quickly fell in love with the Autism Center for a lot of reasons. From the professionalism of each therapist and the way the clinic operates, to the way they greet each child with their favorite toys in a blue bucket that goes with them throughout their day. The children get story time, craft time, and time to move. They have a sensory room and anything else a child with autism could ever need to be their best.
Most importantly, they loved Noah for who he is and the staff met him right where he was at. Our big red-headed boy was encouraged, celebrated, engaged, and challenged by the staff. It is hard to describe the feeling we had when we heard the staff cheering on the kids. Literally- cheering them on and loudly cheering. It truly is an amazing place. The work of the staff quickly resulted in Noah developing new and much needed skills and communicating in ways he had never shown before. We saw progress in a short amount of time, and we continued to see Noah thrive. Like many parents of kids with autism, we had moments where we were ready to give up and wondered if we were simply wasting time. In those moments, the therapist and administration were quick to step in, reassure us, and refocus us. They answered countless questions and were always patient with us, especially on the hard days of autism.
Last, the Autism Center continues to be a great resource for our family. Due to a job relocation, we moved back to Tennessee. For three months, Melissa and Noah traveled back each week to ACNM to continue therapy until we could find therapy in Tennessee. That is how much we believe ACNM is the best place. In fact, we have yet to find a clinic that is as good as ACNM. The staff at the Autism Center continues to answer our questions, provide perspective, and encourage us as we move forward on our autism journey. When we started at the Autism Clinic, we wondered if our family was going to move forward in positive ways. Looking back, that seems like such a silly concern. We saw Noah grow so much while at the Autism Center. Our family is thankful for the men and women at the Autism Center. We miss being there, seeing the faces of therapists who genuinely care and who loved our family well as we journeyed with autism. Though we aren’t there now, we find ourselves wanting to share stories of Noah’s successes with the Autism Center because they are a large part of his story. When we left Mississippi, we found ourselves wondering if we’ll ever find an ABA clinic that matched their heart and passion. In our heart, the Autism Center is the gold standard by which all other ABA therapists are measured. It is the best ABA clinic we have been to and the best we can find anywhere. We are so thankful our time at ACNM and for helping Noah learn and thrive.
If you’re a family looking for help because autism is part of your story, you won’t find a better place than the Autism Center. If you’re considering supporting the Autism Center, you’ve found a place that will use any resource you make available to positively affect the lives of individuals and families who need hope, encouragement, and help.
-Dave, Melissa, and Noah Kruse