Raleigh, N.C., January 15, 2018
October 27, 2014 is a day Harley's family will never forget. This quiet 12-year-old non-verbal boy diagnosed with autism, began to scream ...and scream...and scream. His mother said, "It was as if a switch was flipped and we didn't know how to calm him or understand what he wanted." For Harley and his family, this became a life altering behavior that needed to be managed 24-7. Life was impossible with the non-stop scream.
Despite hours visiting several doctors, new medicines and bargaining with Harley, the scream continued for an entire year. That is, until Harley's family learned about Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA therapy). With the help of therapy sessions with a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), they saw a light at the end of the tunnel. This scientific behavior based therapy provided the support and tools that Harley and his family needed. "Life wasn't 'normal', but it was getting better for Harley and our family," said his mother, Elizabeth DeBiasi.
Fast forward two years, Harley is a million times better, according to his family and those around Harley. Last summer, Harley hit a huge milestone - he attended his first sleep-away camp at Camp EastersealsUCP in New Castle, Virginia. Camp Easterseals UCP has been helping children and adults with disabilities along with their families for 60 years. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Camp Easterseals UCP provides campers with a unique outdoor opportunity.
For Harley, this was an incredibly independent experience and a period of well deserved respite for his family. Since then, Harley has been able to successfully travel with his family by participating in a football game, a family wedding and a vacation in Florida.
Harley's mom Elizabeth is a fighter for her son. She is his voice. She has advocated for autism insurance legislation in North Carolina and is active on the Easterseals UCP Board. "I am one of the thousands of families living with autism and counting on Easterseals UCP to make North Carolina a more welcoming and affordable place for families touched by autism," said Elizabeth.
Learn more about Easterseals UCP Autism Services