Meet Grayson McCarver, Diagnosed with Autism

An interview with his parents Karen and Heath McCarver

Grayson was born a healthy nine pounds, one ounce baby in October 2000.  He met all his monthly baby milestones for his early months.  When he did not speak by 18 months of age, we suspected some type of disability.  His only form of communication was to become very upset and scream.  He later told us that he could hear his words in his head but could not verbalize them.  At this same time we noticed that he was lining up all of his toys until they formed perfectly straight lines.

We began researching on the Web and felt as though we knew what his diagnosis was going to be. We needed to confirm our suspicions so we took him to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, where he received the diagnosis of mild autism.  Our next step was to find the right place for Grayson to begin his early intervention therapy.

Arkansas Children’s Hospital gave us the names of three schools that specialize in children with learning disabilities.  ACCESS was at the top of the list to call.  With a never-ending devotion to our faith, we knew God had placed me on the phone with Monika Garner-Smith on my very first phone call to the school.  I was so impressed with everything she said about ACCESS that I could not wait to tour the school.

After touring and looking at the curriculum, which was produced by the staff, and learning about their strong belief in early intervention, Grayson entered ACCESS preschool in August 2003.  Please remember this child could not say words at this point.

With extremely intense integrated therapy, visual supports, schedules and a curriculum that is sought by other schools, we saw Grayson begin to bloom.  All he needed was good soil (ACCESS), water everyday (devoted parents) and a good gardening team (ACCESS teachers and therapists).  The seed was planted and Grayson began to thrive!  His vocabulary developed and everything else that had been delayed due to his speech problem came soon after.

What is Grayson doing now after being at ACCESS for six years?  He has surpassed what anyone thought he might be capable of doing!  He reads above grade level!  He only attends two sessions of speech therapy a week.  Best of all, the next step has begun for us working with a transition team at ACCESS to send Grayson on to one of the private schools in Little Rock in the fall of 2010.  We are so proud and grateful!

We now have utilized every service offered through ACCESS:  the Evaluation Center led by Dr. Sabine Falls, tutoring services, therapy services and academic services.  Grayson is the bright, fun and energetic 8-year-old he is today through the undying devotion of everyone at ACCESS.  He has been given the opportunity to thrive and to become a productive member of our society.  

Thank you, ACCESS!


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