PUEBLO — As we work to rebound from the effects of the pandemic, we have talked about how families and teachers are struggling with virtual learning, especially when it comes to children with special needs. We learned about a group in Pueblo that works to help those children and their families learn and grow.
“My son was only saying two words at the time that he came, and right now my son can say full-blown sentences,” Jessica Rosario said.
Rosario’s son is on the autism spectrum and started learning at AIM in Pueblo last May. She said the progress he’s made has been life-changing, “He was not able to take a walk. They went on walks with him. Now he does not need an adaptive stroller.”
He and other children can get all of their therapies in one spot at AIM, including ABA, or Applied Behavioral Analysis.
“Within this facility, we can do ABA therapy, but at the same time also bring in physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, whichever coincides with their treatment,” one of the owners Kellie Avila said.
AIM has about 50 employees, in Pueblo and in Colorado Springs, who work with kids from 18 months old and up.
They serve children on the autism spectrum, those with ADHD, and more diagnoses. They do in-home care and in-center care up to eight hours a day.
Some of the educators worry about the kids who have been left behind due to the remote learning challenges of the pandemic.
They prioritize cleaning and following health guidelines so they can continue to stay open.
“It’s difficult when they don’t have the continuity of coming in or having someone in their home. They get so used to the therapy and it’s where they’re making that progress, and if they have to take a few days of a week off, it really impacts their progress,” Avila said.
Many of the parents said they sometimes don’t feel like they get enough support, but here it’s different. There are liaisons offering resources. They’re also able to build a network with other parents in similar situations.
“When you come in here, there are parents that have the knowledge, that can guide you to different ways, from getting the speech device to getting a bicycle, to getting the things you need to help your children succeed,” mom Margo Opal said.
Parents can also get educated, some even working toward their CNA certificate so they can further provide for their children.
“You’re gonna have your good days and you’re gonna have your bad days. You just have to push through each day as it comes along,” Rosario said.
As we work to push through and rebound from the effects of the pandemic, AIM said it will continue to help families struggling along the way, and will be there long after as well.
If you need help figuring out a path for your child with special needs, AIM said to give them a call and they’re happy to talk with you.
We’re told the majority of their clients have Medicaid and the benefits cover most everything.
For more information on AIM click here.
Elizabeth's previous story: https://www.koaa.com/rebound/special-needs-education-struggles-during-the-pandemic.