Claudia began her life as a completely neurotypical child—or so her parents thought. She seemed to be meeting her milestones on time at first and was a happy normal baby. Everything was going swimmingly for the little family.
But by the time she was two years old, Claudia’s symptoms had manifested themselves. Most of the words she had learned over that time period were slowly disappearing, and she stopped responding to her name. Her parents were convinced she was going deaf, because they could see no other reason for such strange symptoms.
Doctors confirmed that Claudia was not deaf but rather was showing signs of autism. However, they didn’t initially give her an autism diagnosis. “Why rush to label her?” they asked the family at one point.
But Claudia’s family did want to rush to label her so that she could get early intervention and hopefully get more of her language and communication skills back.
Little did they know, however, insurance would exclude all of her therapy and autism-related medical bills, even after they did get her a diagnosis. Every step, from diagnosis to finding therapy to getting insurance coverage, was a huge fight.
So many children are being diagnosed with autism, and yet there are still so few resources to help with this disorder in many parts of the world. Claudia’s family is reaching out in an effort to create change, not just for their daughter but for every person with autism who deals with any type of discrimination.
Learn more about Claudia’s story and her parents’ fight for early intervention in the video below.
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?