The ACCESS Evaluation and Resource Center (AERC) changed our lives. I’ve known something was a little off for our 11-year-old son Aidan for years. His older brother is diagnosed on the autism spectrum, so his school just assumed he was autistic as well. I wondered that myself at times since his areas of concern seemed to match his brother’s. Aidan has a great memory and can recall things in great detail, but he was failing in school.
Years ago, his father, teachers and I answered a booklet provided to us through his psychiatrist resulting in a diagnosis of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). We put a 504 plan in place, but things still weren’t clicking for Aidan. A good friend happened to become his teacher and she expressed concern, emphasizing the need for a better 504 plan and more testing.
“ACCESS changed our lives. Now we know how to help our son be the best he can be.”
-Brandi Frank, parent
Year after year, I would ask our school about testing for our son, but no one seemed to be able to help. After my friend told me Aidan’s struggles, I contacted my insurance provider to ask for recommendations, and we chose to drive to Little Rock to seek a comprehensive evaluation through ACCESS.
Working with psychological evaluator Kimberly Newton and ACCESS changed our lives. She was able to discover the correct diagnoses and help us create a 504 to fit Aidan’s needs. It turned out that Aidan was not on the autism spectrum at all. He had been struggling with a variety of learning disabilities that no one knew about.
School is completely different for Aidan now. We don’t spend nights crying over homework, and his much-needed recess isn’t taken away from him because he didn’t have enough time in class to complete his work. We still have struggles, but a huge weight has been taken off our shoulders. Now we know how to help our son be the best he can be.