AEA Support Transforms Life for the Nelson Family

Fenton, IA-The Nelson family credits the exceptional support provided by Area Education Agency (AEA) professionals for the remarkable progress and transformation in their son Silas' development journey.

From the early signs of concern about Silas' speech and fine motor skills at his two-year checkup to the subsequent diagnosis of autism in September 2021, the Nelson family found themselves navigating uncharted territory. However, their journey took a positive turn with the guidance and support of dedicated AEA professionals.

Following a referral from First Five, the Nelsons met with Lynn, an AEA specialist, who immediately sprang into action to address Silas' communication challenges. Through innovative strategies like picture cards and personalized support sessions, Lynn and her team collaborated closely with the family to create a nurturing environment conducive to his growth.

As Silas' needs evolved, so did his AEA support system. Additional professionals like Diane and Joanna joined the team to provide speech and occupational therapy as he showed the need. The seamless coordination between AEA services and hospital therapy ensured comprehensive and consistent care for Silas, significantly contributing to his progress.

Lynn's advocacy and proactive approach played a pivotal role in facilitating Silas' transition to preschool, where he received tailored support to foster his socialization skills and academic development. Despite initial challenges, Silas' resilience, coupled with the support of AEA professionals, propelled him toward significant milestones, including a vast improvement in speech and cognitive abilities.

“We owe so much to the AEA for the tools and knowledge they gave us to advocate for Silas. They made us feel seen and cared for,” says Katie Nelson, Silas’ mother. “We cannot thank our team of AEA providers enough for providing speech, occupational therapy, and an equitable education experience. Silas is a thriving five-year-old with incredible continuous progress in communication and social skills.”

As Silas continues to exceed expectations, the Nelson family remains steadfast in supporting AEA services, recognizing them as invaluable resources that empower families and transform lives.

Stories like this one illustrate the value provided by AEAs across Iowa. Do you have a similar story you would like to share regarding AEA services? We would love to hear it! Share your story here: