By Victor Wang, Co-founder and father of EJ, a child with autism
I cofounded Bergen Pediatric Therapy Center in order to provide children exceptional therapy services. I wanted to provide the benefit of having a collaboration of various therapists in one central location due to my own personal experience with my son EJ. EJ was diagnosed with Autism at 19 months of age. Similar to most parents, my wife and I were initially in denial. I remember coming home that day and searching all the websites on Autism, almost trying to talk ourselves out of the diagnosis. We explored all of the “early signs of autism” available hoping that there was a chance the diagnosis was incorrect.
After the initial denial phase, and after observing EJ’s behavior more closely, we finally accepted the fact that the diagnosis was correct and we had to help EJ. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a clear road map available to help us. It was difficult to find instructions on what to do or even tell us where to go for help and guidance. We had to do a lot of research on our own in order to find any available resources. In a short period of time, and after many phone calls to the head of Early Intervention (EI) in my area, we got into the program and started receiving services from Early Intervention. In addition to the services that we were receiving from EI, we also supplemented with private and alternative therapies. EJ’s life went from playing all day to working all day, seven days a week. Demands were now placed on him and each day was a new adventure for all of us.
EJ’s therapies included ABA (applied behavioral analysis), occupational therapy, sensory gym, physical therapy and speech therapy. We also explored and experimented with various metabolic diets and supplements that did not appear to meet his needs. Finally, the key to EJ’s progress came when a good friend of mine, an occupational therapist, recommended the Tomatis Listening Program for him when he was 3. She had observed another child who went through Tomatis and saw drastic results. Going through Tomatis helped answer our prayers and we will be eternally grateful to our friend.
By the time EJ was 4 years old, he was progressing wonderfully because of the intensive listening therapy(Tomatis) and the Multi-Disciplinary approach we provided for him. EJ spoke in short sentences, became potty-trained, always answered to his name, played appropriately, searched for other children to play with and was very social. During this summer we enrolled EJ into a mainstream preschool program without an aid or shadow. He did wonderfully.
Because of EJ’s success and all the struggles we went through, trials and errors that we made, and different emotions that we went through as a family, I co-founded Bergen Pediatric Therapy Center in order to share EJ’s story and be a resource to parents who may be going through similar challenges. I want to be able to let people know about intensive listening therapy(Tomatis) and how effective it is and how the Multi-Disciplinary approach really works.
Updates on EJ’s progress:
2010 EJ is now over 7 years old and he has surpassed our expectation. We are blessed with his sense of humor and his wonderful personality. He is attending 1st grade in mainstream school. He is continuing having wonderful experiences.
2012 EJ is now over 9 years old and he is attending 3rd grade. Even though there are lots of areas that still need improvement, he is still making unbelievable progress. He has come into his own socially, academically, and emotionally. His upper extremity strength, coordination and fine motor skills are always improving. He is more aware of reality and the happenings around him. He is a very funny and entertaining kid.
2018 EJ is graduating 8th grade in a couple of month. We had taken away all his modifications for test taking. He is a solid A/B student. He is doing really well and will be ready for high school. He is playing on a local tennis team. He also got his first after school job working with kids. We could not be more proud.