Kendall, now 11 years old, was diagnosed at the age of 2 with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the moderate level. Kendall is a special education student at an elementary school and receives accommodations. Kendall cannot speak so she uses sign language to speak.
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Kendall lives in a middle class home with both parents and two siblings, Jackson-age 9 and Jordan-age 13. Kendall’s mother is a Respiratory Therapist in a private practice and her father is the Assistant Principal at an elementary school. Kendall is the first known diagnosed family member with Autism. Name of person you are interviewing: Dondrea Geter Name of individual with the disability: Kendall Geter Describe the disability: “Kendall’s pediatrician told us that Autism is a developmental delay disorder that affects the brain and that’s why she didn’t make eye contact with us when we called her name” (D. Geter, personal communication, November 30, 2018). Age of the individual with the disability: Kendall was diagnosed right before she turned 2, and now she is 11 years old” (D. Geter, personal communication, November 30, 2018). Describe the relationship between family members and the individual with the disability: “It’s very hard for my extended family to communicate with Kendall because they don’t understand her condition, so they tend to talk at her, sometimes. My wife and myself and her siblings have learned sign language so that we can communicate with her. At least we can half way understand what she wants or needs” (D. Geter, personal communication, November 30, 2018).
How did you learn that Kendall has a disability? (Who was present? When did this happen?) If you were giving advice to professionals who need to explain to a parent that his/her child has a special need, what would that advice be? “My wife and I both noticed that when we would call Kendall’s name, she would not respond at all; it was as if she didn’t hear us and. We also noticed this when she was about 10 or 11 months. We just thought that she was busy watching television. She would stare at an object for a long time and when we would try to play with her, she would become easily agitated. We continued to watch her and more symptoms started to appear. So we decided to take her to the doctor to have her hearing tested. We thought maybe the reason she didn’t respond to us was because she couldn’t hear us. So we told the doctor about how she was acting and he suggested running other tests. He diagnosed her with Autism at 20 months, right before she turned 2. My advice to professionals would be to have compassion and patience with the parents and already have a game plan or suggestions about how to deal with a child who has Autism.
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