LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — Autism effects 1 in 54 children and varies greatly from person to person. The disability impacts a person's development in social interaction, communication skills and cognitive function. Many parents struggle with how best to help their child but one Lancaster County Mom says she is beyond grateful for a Pre-K program she found for her son.
Elisa Anderson says she knew something was different about her son Will when he was 18-months-old and not talking yet. "It's very scary as a parent to think that there might be something wrong. We started to really pursue a diagnosis when his behavior started to increase and we started to see some aggressive behavior towards us and towards his sisters," Anderson said.
After many doctor appointments, Will was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. His behavior started to worsen and when his home-based sitter said she could no longer care for him, Elisa didn't know what to do. She was even considering leaving her job when she found out about Excentia Human Services' Pre-school Program at Manor Church in Mountville.
The classroom offers all kids the chance to experience preschool activities based on the individual skill level of each child- with the goal of creating a community where all children have equal opportunity and equal value.
The teachers use multi-sensory experiences that allow each child to touch, smell, hear, see, move and sometimes even taste an item during a specific activity. "When you find that right placement, it makes it so much better. His behavior is a million times better than it was when he first started," Anderson said about Will.
Preschoolers who attend Excentia Human Services have special needs. However, program organizers say all students are welcome. In fact, they believe that integrating *typically developing students with those who have special needs, benefits all of the kids there.
"I can't say enough good things about this preschool program and how well he's doing here. He's really come such a far way from where he started," Anderson said happily.
Excentia Human Services is a nonprofit organization in Lancaster County that provides services for people with developmental needs and autism throughout their entire life starting from as early as birth. If you'd like more information about the organization, click here.
For more information about Manor Church Pre-School, click here.
For more information about Autism here are several sites to check out: