Return to Success

Diagnosed with autism at age three, Kennadi Jones made great strides when she received therapy from Damar ABA Autism Services starting at about age 4. In fact, mom Kayla Nelson said, by age 8, Damar had helped Kennadi get settled into full days at school and released her from further ABA services.

But things hit a snag last year, when a new teacher at her school didn’t work well with Kennadi and her one-on-one aide. New problems arose. Kayla knew exactly what to do: Call Damar. Kennadi started going to school for half the day and returning for half days of intensive ABA therapy at Damar.

Kennadi smiling “They were there to welcome her back with open arms,” Kayla said. “She’s very happy to go back. She loves it there.”

Once again, she said, Damar is making a difference. Now 12 years old, Kennadi is working toward returning to full days in school, where Damar works with Kennadi’s new classroom teacher and aides to help them support her ongoing progress. And now, if problems arise, someone from Damar will go into the school to observe and identify issues. They also attend case meetings with Kayla, review Kennadi’s IEP (individualized education program) and more to ensure her success. Kennadi’s new teacher works well with Damar, Kayla said, and that makes a big difference.

But Damar’s support goes beyond the classroom. They go to doctor and dentist appointments with Kennadi, for example, and provide Kayla and Kennadi’s teacher with insights about how to manage day-to-day challenges. And, recently, the Damar team notified Kayla when they discovered that insurance coverage for Kennadi’s ABA therapy was going to be denied, and they’ve advocated on her behalf to find a solution.

“They help you learn as a parent how to deal with things,” Kayla said.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Kennadi is motivated as well. Kayla said her daughter, who enjoys drawing and art, is especially interested in fitting in with her peers. She watches YouTube videos to learn about what kids her age like, and she spends time around other kids as long as is comfortable for her. The Damar team helps and encourages Kennadi in all of these efforts and more, Kayla said.

“They just try to help her to succeed,” she said. “That always gives me hope.”