Zack is a four-year-old boy who loves going for walks, swimming, swinging at the playground and lighting up a room with his smile and contagious laugh. Zack was also born with a rare arteriovenous malformation in his brain called Vein of Galen Malformation (VOGM). At 18-months further testing revealed the vein had closed off and medically Zack was ok. However, VOGM also caused developmental delays which became noticeable. Zack's mom, Erin, shared "Zack did not walk until he was 22- months-old and his speech was months behind compared to his peers."
After Zack received early intervention services he started at Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley. During this transition period, Erin shared, "We realized that more might be going on with Zack because he regressed in his speech, he began stimming often and he had trouble initiating and maintaining eye contact" Zack was evaluated at Easterseals Medical Diagnostic Clinic with Dr. Peter Smith and diagnosed with severe autism in July 2021.
Zack's new diagnosis brought clarity to the situation and helped ensure he received the resources and support he needed to flourish. Since Zack started his journey at Easterseals Erin has noticed real progress. "Zack has made big growth in his OT skills over the last one-and-a-half years! His fine motor skills along with his gross motor skills have improved. He now climbs all over the place and gets into EVERYTHING when before, he was hesitant to try new things and take risks. He is doing much better with making eye contact and coming to adults for help when he needs something."
Erin further explained how integrated support from Easterseals staff has made therapy more enjoyable and promoted success. "Our Easterseals therapists have been the best! They care about him and celebrate when he makes progress. They provide suggestions on what we can do at home to help reinforce what is done at therapy."