In 2011 my family and I began to notice that my beautiful baby boy was not really connecting to or engaging with the world around him.  By the time Landan was turning two he was not verbal, so even with the promise from my pediatrician that boys are late bloomers and “give it some time, he’ll some around,” our concerns led us to get his hearing tested.  We prayed that the test would reveal there was a small fixable issue with his hearing and once repaired Landan would start talking and connecting to his world, but the test uncovered the possibility that Landan maybe Autistic.

Saddled with this grim news and we sought out places where we could have Landan tested which led us to Glenwood.  In 2012, my family and I were introduced to Dr. Felicia Houston during Landan’s testing and intake interview.  The testing was a long four-hour process; to say that we were a bundle of nerves is an understatement… Dr. Houston walked in with her kind and pleasant demeanor.  Her presence was enough to put us at ease. She explained the process assuring us that Landan would be in good hands and all was well.

The second half of Landan’s intake was the family interview; we entered Dr. Houston’s office where Landan found a cozy spot under Dr. Houston’s desk where he could play his favorite video game on his tablet. We all yelled “No!” trying to convey the fact that Landan was a well-mannered two-year-old.  Dr. Houston chuckled and said “he’s fine…just let him be himself.”

During this portion of the interview the most amazing thing occurred, Landan had become comfortable and began to make noises with an unrecognizable speech our family had been trying to discern for two years.  We turned to Dr. Houston and told her that this was the jest of Landan’s speech.  We understood that he was trying to communicate but we couldn’t make out what he was saying.  Dr. Houston looked at us and said I can understand him; he just said “run” and now he’s saying “jump.” Our mouths fell open and in that instant she turned a key for me that allowed me access to my son that I’ve never had before.

Landan was enrolled in Glenwood’s Pre-K program at the age of two.  While under the direction of Dr. Houston and her staff, using a specific and unique design course of learning for where Landan fell on the Autism Spectrum, he flourished. Within four to six months, Landan had become verbal with speech that was clear and understandable.  By the end of his first year, Landan was a completely different little boy.  He was making eye contact, becoming more sociable, potty trained, learning his alphabets and numbers.

Today, Landan is a vibrant six-year-old.  He is in kindergarten and is doing well.  My family and I contribute his wonderful start and success into mainstream school in great part to the foundation that he received at Glenwood, specifically during Dr. Houston’s tenure.

Sincerely,

— Michelle Brown (Mother), Jean Burroughs (Great-grandmother) and Candace Banks (Aunt)