In 2002 we were blessed with the birth of our angel David. By the time he reached 18 months of age we began to see behaviors we expected missing, and signs of inappropriate behaviors emerging. David retreated rapidly into himself until he made no voluntary sound, would not respond to his name or allow direct eye contact. He would spend his time when allowed fixated on spinning objects or other repetitive behaviors and would wander in public without regard to danger or our presence.
We reported these behaviors to his pediatrician and other medical professionals only to be told that David was simply delayed and would emerge appropriately.
That was not the case. Our family’s journey into the ASD world was about to begin. David was diagnosed with Encephalopathy consistent with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) by Dr. Roberto Tuchman at the end of the 2004.
Our lives changed immediately and dramatically as we immersed ourselves in the job of raising David and learning to be his best possible parent guides out of the seclusion of Autism as well as aiming to provide the most optimal upbringing to our youngest son Joshua. There were so many challenges and no clear roadmap to success. We studied and tried everything we heard of that had evidence of success or even just sounded as if it made sense. Some things helped and some did not. In that process, we learned that not all therapies help all children and that in fact all children with ASD have similarities, but each is as unique in challenge as they are in personality.
It is based on the success we were fortunate enough to enjoy with early and intensive intervention, that we embarked upon the task of bringing evidenced based therapy and individualized school curriculum to as many families of these special children as we can.
Maria Palacio-Pike (Mary) is President and Director of
community relations for Crystal Academy.
Mary currently serves as a member of the Coral Gables
Advisory Board on Disability Affairs.
Therapists, Teachers & Staff
Registered Behavior Staff
Yoandi Silva Padron
Speech & Language Therapy
“When I received the news that my son had ASD I was devastated. I was overwhelmed with questions and fears for my son’s future, but for the last 4 years, Crystal Academy has been there for us every step of his development/growth. At CA my son is not pushed to the side or ignored. He is challenged, he is motivated, he is engaged and he is loved.”
“Crystal Academy is an absolutely amazing place. Our daughter was diagnosed with autism shortly before her second birthday and we jumped aimlessly and with little hope from therapist to therapist. Within just a few short weeks at Crystal, we were filled with hope and knew we had found the perfect place for her; a fabulous place to learn, surrounded by consistent therapists and a warm family feel. When Gigi first started she could say just a word or two and did not even look at you and now she is engaged and responds appropriately and has a bunch of new words and surprises us every single day!”
“Thanks for reassuring us that we made the right decision in choosing Crystal Academy for our son. A big Thank You for the hope you have given us. I will always remember that his first word was at Crystal Academy – Music! Music!”