VIDEO: “It was nice to meet other families. I didn’t feel alone.”

Like most parents, there isn’t anything Carrie and her husband, Chris, wouldn’t do to help their son, Carter.

When their pediatrician noticed he was developing and responding differently than other children, they decided to take matters into their own hands.

“He wasn’t making eye contact or talking at all,” said Carrie. “He was really focused and fixated on cars and would just sit on the ground and watch the wheels go back and forth.”

Carrie explained that he didn’t play with other children, and was often a wallflower.

At the age of 2, his play habits were repetitive in nature. Prompted by the need to find a solution fast, Carrie made flash cards and integrated Carter into more social situations.

“When nothing worked, I finally admitted something was not right,” Carrie said. “And like a good mom, I was going to fix it.”

When their pediatrician gave them a big stack of papers filled with contact information for dozens of therapists, they ultimately decided not to “label” Carter with a developmental disability. Disability is not a word in the Wahl’s vocabulary. Instead, they opted to find solutions to the problems he was experiencing.

That’s when they turned to Southwest Human Development’s in-home therapy services and a parent-child playgroup for children on the autism spectrum.

“It was great that everyone at Southwest Human Development was under one umbrella and I didn’t have to go all over the place for services,” Carrie said. “They gave me the tools that we needed and the solutions to help our child.”

Southwest Human Development therapists helped Carrie and Chris learn how to interact, communicate and work with Carter to improve his developmental progress and behaviors. Within the first week, Carter was using sign language to communicate and express his needs to his parents. It was a giant leap for the Wahl family.

“It was the first glimpse of us ever being able to communicate with our kid,” said Carrie.

The playgroup setting allowed interaction with other children and families, helping Carter socialize with others.

“It was nice to meet other families and learn about their experiences,” Carrie said. “I didn’t feel alone.”

Today, Carrie and Chris consider their son’s progress to be amazing. Carter’s eye contact dramatically improved, he enjoys playing in the sandbox – which he wouldn’t go near before – and he’s social with other children, engaging in imaginary play and smiling.

Learn more about Southwest Human Development’s programs and services today.