Ten-year-old Penelope’s journey hasn’t been easy. But with help from AHSS, Penelope now
enjoys following her passions more than ever — including her love of art and animals.
Penelope’s parents knew that she was different when she was young. She was extremely sensitive to sounds, textures and touch. She suffered from emotional breakdowns and, at times, couldn’t tell fantasy from reality.
Penelope’s autism diagnosis actually brought relief. “It took almost three years to find out what was wrong with her,” Penelope’s mother lamented. “Once we got Penelope’s diagnosis, I finally had a name for what was going on. After that I knew where to go for help.”
One of those places was AHSS. “AHSS came out and met Penelope at home. Once they came up with a plan, we started therapy,” remembered Penelope’s mother.
With the help of AHSS, Penelope learned how to communicate better and pick up on social cues. Penelope’s family learned a lot too. “We talked about safety issues and learned how to ask Penelope questions differently so that she could give us better answers and tell us what was bothering her,” Penelope’s mother said with relief. “It was wonderful to have AHSS here.”
“Seeing the positive changes was overwhelming at first, but in a good way. For me it was amazing,” said Penelope’s mother with a smile in her voice. “Being able to finally be like a normal family and do things in public was wonderful. I’m proud of how far Penelope has come, and I’m really excited for her future. Watching her grow and mature has been wonderful and very encouraging.”
When it comes to all of the progress that Penelope has made over the years, Penelope’s bond with her therapists at AHSS played an important role. Penelope’s mother recalled, “It helped having the connection with them like we did. They were always very professional, but having that extra personal connection was great — and it helped with the progress that was made.”
For parents of children with autism, Penelope’s mother had this advice: “Don’t give up. Celebrate the good days. Look at this as an opportunity to grow as an individual and a family. Learn how to love your child differently.”
“For the people at AHSS, this isn’t just another job. They really care about the kids they work with, and they treat them as individuals — not as ‘clients.’”
— Penelope’s mother