They say it takes a village to raise a child, and boy, have I experienced that as a mother. It is especially true when you have a child on the spectrum. Our son has Autism and this is our story. (This was written 4 years ago when Tripp was 6 years old. My, how things have changed for our boy since we started this journey.)When our son, Tripp, was just a year old both of our families were very concerned with his development. He spoke a few words at one year old and later lost them. He didn’t make eye contact with people and didn’t respond to his name. As any good mother would do, I turned to the “professionals” and the response I heard was: "He’s a boy, give him time, he will catch up." That wasn’t good enough so we started searching for answers and scheduled testing to be done.Fast forward three years, and we finally got our answers at OU Children’s, where the all-day testing took place. And NOTHING can prepare you for those heart piercing, deafening words, “Your son has Autism Spectrum Disorder.” We had been living with Autism for four years already, but denial and perhaps hope, keeps you from knowing what you already know sometimes. Immediately we began researching what we could do to help our son more. He had been in Speech at school and Special Education classrooms but nothing seemed to work. We considered moving out of the state because of insurance laws not covering Autism therapy (ABA) in Oklahoma then. (this changed in 2016). That did not work out, and I eventually had to quit my job to stay home with our son. Tripp, at four years old, was almost non-verbal, and had “fits” all day long from not being able to communicate with us. When he was happy we had a lot of fun with him, but his language was not developing at all, so very few people would even try to interact with him. It seemed hopeless until a miracle happened. An ABA based classroom was introduced and Tripp finally received the early intervention type of therapy that he should have had when he was a year old. Then later another miracle happened, we changed insurance and found out that our Texas based out-of-state insurance WOULD PAY for the ABA therapy Tripp so desperately needed. Now after a year and a half (in 2016) of intensive ABA therapy, not only is Tripp verbal, he’s learning how to read. He rides his bike in the neighborhood and says hello to everyone. He asks for things and tells us when his tummy hurts or he is hungry instead of just crying. It took years of research and praying and a team of people to get us here, but we finally found our village! Fast forward to 2020: Tripp is 10 years old, in a typical 3rd grade classroom now at First Lutheran School, and on grade level. We still have struggles everyday and Tripp still receives ABA therapy, but the resources for autism are becoming more and more abundant for EVERYONE! The mama and papa bears (aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends too) that have fought and advocated in this state have made this happen and we are happy to be a part of that movement in Ponca City as well!! Thank you ALL! We love our village!!