Even though he spoke late, my son Timothy was a normal toddler — smart and energetic. We had a second child when he was 3, and it was as if Timothy lost his mind. He was upset all the time. When he started preschool, his teachers thought he was nonverbal. As a physician, I sought a medical evaluation, but no one could answer my questions. I felt like I was failing as a parent.
A friend recommended Children’s National Hospital. A visit with neuropsychologist Allison Ratto changed everything. While Timothy seemed to meet much of the criteria for autism, Dr. Ratto wanted to get to know him better before diagnosing him. She recommended parent-child interaction therapy with clinical psychologist Leandra Godoy who specializes in early childhood mental health.
For the next year, Dr. Godoy met with us on Timothy’s good weeks and his bad weeks. She always had a positive attitude and gave us a path forward. We began to have happy interactions with our son again.
A year later, Dr. Ratto diagnosed Timothy with autism. He is verbal and able to live independently. She helped us find the right school. Psychiatrist Dr. Bhavin Dave prescribed medication that has enabled Timothy, now 7, to thrive. Today, he feels a part of a family that loves and understands him. He loves to paint and plays ice hockey.
Going to Children’s National was one of the best things we’ve ever done for our son. Timothy’s team gave him the opportunity to go to school and accomplish things he can be proud of. They helped our family thrive.
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