Meet the Kids - Kennan

When Kennan was 26 months old he was diagnosed with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex.  This is a genetic mutation that causes tumors to grow in all vital organs.  The day he was diagnosed the Dr told us that  this condition was known to cause Autism.  At that time Kennan seemed to be on track developmentally with exception of his speech so we put it in the back of our minds and focused on getting his seizures under control and all of his organs tested.  Over the next few months it became more apparent that Kennan was different from other children.  He had odd play behavior.  He didn't drive cars or trucks around, he had no imaginative play, he would pile all of his toys around him and sit in the middle of them almost like a nest. He would play around other children but didn't really want to interact with them. His was also losing his speech.

Initially we started getting help through the Early Intervention Program through Davis School district but by the time all of the testing and evaluations were done we only got about 4 months of services.  All of the therapists (with the exception of 1) had no idea how to relate to Kennan.  Most sessions consisted of 45 minutes of crying, screaming and tantrums.  After Kennan turned 3 and no longer "qualified"  for services, we met with the school district and were very disappointed with what the were willing to offer Kennan.  He then went to the Northern Utah Autism Program and was able to receive some therapy there.  Once he turned 5 the program ended and we had no idea where to send him.  This is at the point when we met Kennan's Developmental Pediatrician.  We told him of our situation and asked him what the best option was for Kennan's education.   He told us of Autism Behavior Treatment Center.  We cringed when he told us that it was located in Draper.  We live in Fruit Heights and Draper is 40 miles away from us.  Nevertheless, we made an appointment to check it out and enrolled Kennan even though we had no idea how we were going to pay for it.  

This is when we learned about the Ezra B Smith scholarship.  I can honestly say that if it weren't for this scholarship, Kennan would not be able to attend ABTC and get the help that he so desperately needs.  We are so grateful and relieved to have found a place that our boy can go and actually learn from people that aren't afraid to use a different approach to teaching.  He has flourished in this environment and I hope that he can continue to receive this type of education and therapy for as long as he needs it.  He has come a long way but still has so far to go.  Kennan has amazing potential and we believe that with the right help he can achieve it.