Jayden Barrera was born November 28, 2014. His mother, Evelyn Barrera,
said he did very well the first year; he grew, turned over, learned to
crawl, walk and was vocalizing “mamma, dadda.”
However, around that time Evelyn noticed troublesome signs. Jayden stopped
talking. Jayden’s dad passed away when he was 18 months old. Relatives
and friends told Evelyn that Jayden wasn’t talking because of that,
but she knew better.
Her concern grew as Jayden reverted back to crawling instead of walking;
he also began hitting himself. “Then he started banging his head
against the wall,” she said. “I would walk into a room and
find him doing this when no one else was in the room so I knew it wasn’t
just to gain attention.”
Evelyn works as a certified medical assistant at the
Wahluke Family Clinic in Mattawa. She has an opportunity to interact with young children on a regular basis
and observe their behaviors.
When Jayden hadn’t resumed talking by the time he was 18 months old,
Evelyn knew something was wrong. She had Jayden evaluated by
CBHA family physician, Dr. Al Atfeh, who agreed Jayden was speech delayed; he prescribed therapy and enrolled
him in the clinic’s Birth to Three program.
Jayden didn’t improve and developed other worrisome behaviors, such
as repeatedly moving his head up and down.
At this point Dr. Atfeh administered a test called the MACHAT which Jayden
failed. Further advanced testing resulted in Jayden being diagnosed with autism.
Occupational therapy has continued on a weekly basis ever since. “He
is so much better,” Evelyn said. “He is walking again and
relating to people. He used to be very fearful around people and cry,
now he seems pretty comfortable. He still hits himself at times but not
as often or as hard. “We (Evelyn’s mother is Jayden’s
caregiver when Evelyn is at work) have learned how to work with him and
calm him down when he becomes anxious. Jayden still doesn’t speak;
however, he is learning to communicate via sign language. We use flash
cards and he can communicate and tell me what he wants.”
Evelyn is so grateful she was able to seek help at an early age for Jayden.
The earlier a child is diagnosed with autism, the better the treatment
options. Evelyn is also appreciative of the services she has been able
to access at CBHA for Jayden and to Dr. Atfeh for his help and encouragement
along the way.
Jayden is now under the care of
CBHA pediatrician, Dr. Gabe Barrio. Evelyn took Jayden in recently for an appointment with Dr. Barrio. Jayden
was clearly enjoying playing with his mother’s phone.
“He is very technology fluent,” Evelyn said. “He quickly
learns new programs. He knows how to get in and out of YouTube and play
the songs he likes. Because he is so technology fluent we are using that
as a program in conjunction with the flash cards. He will be able to take
that technology into pre-school and that will help him communicate with
his teachers. Overall, I’m so happy that he has improved so much
since we began treatment!”