Photography by Laurie Christine Photography
Meet Matthew! Matthew is a fun-spirited 7-year old who loves watching Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood morning, noon and night! He can sing most of the songs and wants his mom and dad to sing with him. Matthew also loves being outside every opportunity he gets. He is a very sweet and caring young boy who cherishes life.
At the age of 1, Matthew was developing on a typical schedule for a boy his age and hitting all of the expected developmental milestones. He was crawling, walking and saying his first words. It was a joy to watch him grow.
One day in March of 2013, his parents received a phone call from Matthews daycare, stating that he was having a seizure and they were taking him to the hospital. There, Matthew was diagnosed with an ear infection that caused a febrile seizure. This was just the beginning of months of recurring ear infections and other illnesses that came with several more seizures. After seeing a neurologist, Matthew was diagnosed with a febrile seizure disorder. His parents were advised to put Matthew on anti-seizure medication to control the seizures. This, along with surgery to put tubes in his ears, worked wonders for Matthew. In the spring of 2018, Matthew’s family sought the assistance of a different neurologist and had another EEG that revealed he was experiencing a variety of types of seizures and he was diagnosed with epilepsy.
Shortly after going through all of this, his parents started to notice changes in Matthew. He stopped responding to his name, stopped making eye contact, started flapping his hands, and started babbling rather than using the words he had previously spoken on a regular basis. Words like “mama” and “dadda” simply disappeared from his vocabulary.
Matthew underwent extensive testing from a psychologist who spend a great deal of time assessing his skills and behaviors. At the conclusion of the assessment, they were told that Matthew had Autism. This diagnosis was unexpected and heartbreaking.
After speaking with his pediatrician, they decided that the first step in getting Matthew the help he needed was to get him enrolled into the Babies Can’t Wait early intervention program. He was only in the program for roughly 6 months until he turned 3. He then continued services with the county public school system along with private speech, occupational and physical therapy. Now, after four years of weekly private speech, occupational, physical and ABA therapy Matthew is demonstrating significant gains. Matthew’s communication has increased tremendously. The ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) therapy helps teach him self-help skills, such as potty training and play skills. Matthew is starting to play more with friends, make eye contact and is talking more.
Every single day is a new day and every milestone is big. The small victories add together to make big changes leading to a bright future for Matthew. Sunshine on a Ranney Day is excited to be planning a brilliant dream therapy room to help Matthew enjoy a place where he continue to thrive while in the comfort of his own home! Please join us in making this project come to fruition!