When Lucas was two years old, his parents Susan and Steve noticed that he wasn’t hitting the same developmental milestones that his older brother and sister had. He was almost completely nonverbal and it was hard for him to adapt to activities outside his normal routine. At two and a half, Lucas was diagnosed with autism and a severe form of a speech disorder called apraxia.
“It took about a week for us to digest the news,” said Steve. “But once we did, we decided the next step was to get Lucas all the help he needed.”
Upon arriving at ChildServe, Lucas was easily frustrated when trying to communicate with others. Children with apraxia know what they want to say, but have difficulty communicating their message out loud. Lucas began speech therapy at ChildServe three days a week, working with speech-language pathologists to put together vowels and consonants. His family started to see progress in almost no time. Lucas began talking and imitating his siblings at age four, something his family wasn’t sure he would ever do.
“ChildServe gave Lucas his voice,” said Susan. “Without ChildServe and the therapy he has received, he would not be talking. There are not enough words to express our gratitude.”
Since starting at ChildServe, Lucas has attended kindergarten where he became a strong reader and learned to be social with friends. He has started taking gymnastics classes, which he loves, and hopes to play sports in the future.
Lucas’s brother Jackson, 12, and sister Kate, 9, have helped Lucas’s speech development as well.
“It’s kind of like having extra in-home therapy,” said Susan. “Lucas started by imitating his siblings, which is great practice for him. Now we even hear him singing along to music in the car.”
Lucas was reevaluated last year and no longer has apraxia. He now attends speech therapy just once a week, where he continues to work on reading comprehension and participating in two-way conversations. His parents are very optimistic about his future progress.
“Lucas’s spirit, smile and drive are inspiring. We know that God has a plan for him and we cannot wait to see how he will use his gifts,” said Susan. “God bless all of the therapists, staff and donors that provide this environment. The work that is done here is priceless!”