From Early Intervention to Vocational Rehabilitation
The Nieto Castañeda family excitedly welcomed their second child, Gabriel, in July 2002. But as the months went by, mom Rosa’s heart told her that something wasn’t right.
When Gabriel was 6 months old, the pediatrician listened to her concerns and sent them for a neurological evaluation. This confirmed a developmental delay, and at 3 years old Gabriel was diagnosed with autism. These were challenging times for the family.
They connected with the Arizona Early Intervention Program to coordinate therapy and support. Rosa then heard about the services of Raising Special Kids and connected with family support specialist Dolores Ríos. Rosa realized she was not alone, and that Raising Special Kids could guide her.
Rosa attended Raising Special Kids workshops including Individualized Education Program training. She learned advocacy skills and how to collaborate with her son’s special education team to provide the services necessary for him to progress academically and socially. Rosa is grateful for the knowledge she gained through Raising Special Kids including information about Applied Behavior Analysis therapy, paraprofessional supports at school and the services of the Division of Developmental Disabilities.
Throughout her journey, Rosa experienced difficulty in qualifying for Arizona Long Term Care Services for Gabriel. She went back to Raising Special Kids with her questions, and in conjunction with DDD, Gabriel later qualified for ALTCS services.
When Gabriel turned 18, Raising Special Kids again supported Rosa with information and training about adulthood, including guardianship, Vocational Rehabilitation services and more.
“Raising Special Kids provided me with unique support that I will always appreciate,” Rosa said. “Today Gabriel is 20 years old and is exploring the world of work with the support of VR. He is passionate about working with cars and aspires to find a job as an assistant mechanic.” Gabriel also enjoys music and Rosa recently helped fulfill his dream of going to the concert of a favorite artist and taking photos with the performer.
Today, Rosa is a Parent Leader for Raising Special Kids. She loves being able to help other families going through challenging times on their journey of raising someone with a disability.
Rosa adds, “Thank you Raising Special Kids for your support throughout all these years!”