1 ® www.comprehensivenet.com 718 339-9700 Vol. XV, No. 1 Cont’d on page 5 SM The Comprehensive Network Newsletter Cont’d. on page 2 Understanding Autism The Benefits of Home-Based El Services From The Executive Director News! News! News! News Professional Enrichment Program Opportunities Bulletin Board COMPREHENSIVE OPENS NEW OFFICES IN THE BRONX The American with Disabilities Act opened many doors for children. For thousands of children in wheelchairs or on ventilators, this act offered an opportunity to interact with peers in a regular school setting and allowed hope for the future.  However, some medically fragile children were not able to function in a non-medical school environment. To help meet the needs of these children, Comprehensive Resources, Inc. and Netcare, Inc., participating agencies of our Brooklyn-based Com- prehensive Network, Inc., opened a Bronx  division  that  will  offer  both nursing   and   early   intervention services to the children  who need it. AUTISM – A MOTHER’S STORY I just want my daughter to come home and say, Mom, let me tell you about my day at school… For me, that would be better than hitting the lottery.’” For Elizabeth Bernadine of St. Albans, NY, a normal conversation with her daughter, Isabelle, seems like a far-off dream. But it wasnt always this way. Isabelle was born five years ago weighing only one pound and 13 ounces. Though she spent three months in the neona- tal intensive care unit, once she returned home her development was normal. She ate heartily, learned to walk, was happy and playful and was soon learning the joys of communicating through speech. And then, at 2, her development ground to a halt. At first, it was calls from the day care center informing Elizabeth that Isabelle was no longer interacting with the other children or joining circle time. Later on, Isabelle stopped responding to her own name and began having wild temper tantrums every time she encoun- tered a crowd or was forced into a public setting. Elizabeth remembers a particularly trying afternoon in the mall when a stranger told her that her child really needed a good spanking. Still in denial, Elizabeth told herself it was “the terrible two’s” or some other phase Isabelle would surely outgrow. My mom, whos a nurse, kept saying something is wrong, you better check this out. At the time, I really hated her for saying that, recalls Elizabeth. The turning point was a trip to Florida to de-stress at Elizabeths best friends house. Being with Isabelle all day every day for a week and comparing her behavior to that of her friends children, made Elizabeth realize she had to face facts. Isabelle was not like other kids her age. When she returned to New York, Elizabeth made an appointment for an evaluation at the Apple Pre-School, a division of United Cerebral Palsy. After a series of tests, Elizabeth received the dreaded phone call. We want to give you the results in person, please come in to our office. Isabelle was diagnosed with Autistic Spec- trum Disorder. Though the staff at UCP helped Elizabeth place Isabelle in a pre- school for autistic children, she remembers the next few months as a time of grief, loss and confusion. She stopped working to devote herself full time to Isabelle and spent hours on the internet, reading all sorts of horrors about autism she wished she had Isabelle stopped responding to her own name and began having wild temper tantrums every time she encountered a crowd. Published by Comprehensive Network, Inc. on behalf of its participating companies, dedicated to health care, education, and bilingual staffing and management services. © 2003 Comprehensive Network, Inc. Elizabeth Bernadine with daughter, Isabelle
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