After our family got our autism diagnosis, we were faced with an insurmountable amount of information. However, after talking to our pediatrician and other families, our first step was clear: Call the Center for Growth and Development. Over the last three years, their caring and skilled team of therapists have given us the strategies we need to support our son’s–and our family’s–happiness and success.
The Center played an integral role in my sons amazing progress on the spectrum. He is now 12 and no longer meets the criteria for autism. He began his life being diagnosed at the age of 18 months. Lynn and Tanya were a big part of our lives and helped in every aspect of his recovery. My son would not be who he now is without them.
Our son was diagnosed as being on the Autistic Spectrum when he was two and a half. We searched in our home country of The Netherlands for the resources to implement an early intervention therapy plan with no success. We then looked worldwide for the right combination of ABA, speech/oral motor, feeding and occupational therapy within a friendly environment. Finally we found the Center for Growth and Development in Wilton, CT.
After a number of remote consultations we arranged a six month course of intensive therapy for our son using primarily the excellent therapists at the Center along with a handful of specialists from the area who work hand in glove with the Center to ensure consistent reinforcement.
Upon arrival our son was practically non-verbal, emotionally disregulated and challenged with motor planning. Within weeks he began uttering words and by the end of the course had three to four word phrases and had moved beyond simply labelling towards using language more appropriately. Similarly his exploration of physical space and awareness of his own position, movement and posture improved immeasurably. His overall regulation became far more predictable and after only a short period of time we were able to leave our son at the Center with his therapists without any manifestation of separation anxiety.
We cannot speak highly enough of the therapists at the Center. It goes without saying that they were all highly skilled and experienced but most pleasing was the empathy and understanding they all had for our son and for us. In fact one of the hardest things with having a non-verbal child is handing him or her into the care of another person because they cannot tell you how they are being treated. We never had any concerns on this front and had absolute trust in the Center and their staff from day one.
Our son still has many challenges ahead of him but we know without a shadow of doubt that the intervention and therapy he received at the Center for Growth and Development has made a real difference to his chances of leading an independent life and fulfilling his potential. We would wholeheartedly encourage any parents in a situation similar to ours, particularly if they live in a region where the resources for early intervention are scarce or non-existent, to contact the Center to develop a program for their child.
I am the mother of a 17 year old child with autism and other life threatening medical issues who is now a junior in high school. We have been Center for Growth and Development clients since the Center opened. However, I ran an ABA program for my son in my home since he was four and used many of the same consultants and therapists currently at the Center for my son’s program before they officially became CGD. Simply put, they were the best therapists I could find.
CGD consultants and therapists have taken my son all through school, including after school and summers, right up to his junior year in high school. I don’t know where he would be without the program CGD has provided to him throughout these years and I am eternally grateful for what they have given to him. The excellent quality of the Center program and their consultants and therapists have allowed my son to always be fully included in regular education classes. They pre-taught and post-taught material so he could participate in class discussions, made on the spot accommodations for him when he wasn’t understanding the material so that his whole day was reinforcing and productive, helped him with homework and worked tirelessly with the school teachers to make sure they fully included my son in their class. CGD shadowed him everywhere, including all class trips, extracurricular activities, violin and guitar lessons, art school, computer school, day camp and sleep away camp. Along the way they taught him how to have a conversation, how to be polite, how to play with kids, how to play indoor and outdoor games, how to jump on a trampoline, pump his legs on a swing, swim, ride a bike, drive a go cart, golf, computer skills, how to make breakfast and lunch and cleanup afterwards, and too many other skills to mention in this small space.
The CGD consultative team of BCBA’s and BCABA’s, whom I have known for years, is as top notch as you could find in this state with ongoing education, training and oversight to stay up on the latest evidenced based practices in ABA and autism. The Center staff is always professional, prepared, hardworking, well trained and very, very smart. The quality of the therapists has often been noticed and commented on at my son’s PPT meetings by school district personnel as well as staff from the various outside programs he has attended. (Some have even been caught trying to recruit CDG people for themselves.)
Perhaps most importantly, my son is medically compromised and has had several medical episodes in which CGD therapists have handled the situations smoothly and calmly making it easy for me as a parent to keep my sanity intact. The therapists took the time to learn about my son’s medical issues even though it wasn’t part of their program and can identify signs that he is in distress and react accordingly.
As a parent of a teenager with autism, I feel blessed that we have an agency like The Center for Growth and Development in our state and can recommend them, without prejudice, to any parent looking for a quality program run by honorable, smart, kind and professional people.
Lynn Hartigan and the staff at The Center for Growth and Development (specifically Gail, Colleen and Annamarie) are true angels. Our son and family were extremely blessed by their hard work, dedication and genuine personal commitment to saving our son’s life. Our son, who was low functioning and completely mute, today is fully recovered and a vibrant young boy who attends school without any assistance or therapies. A miracle it may seem to many, but in reality is due to the hardworking therapists. The therapists worked with our son on a daily basis for several grueling years and ultimately helped him reach what seemed an insurmountable goal. Our families both immediate and extended will forever be indebted to the incredible staff at the Center. During a time when autism awareness was almost non-existent and help was nowhere to be found, the Center came to our rescue. Each therapist that worked with our son was truly gifted, emotionally invested and completely transformed our son while keeping us hopeful throughout the process. I cannot say enough about how highly we regard the Center’s staff and they will forever hold a place in our hearts for rescuing our baby boy as well as an entire family.
Our decision to seek services from The Center for Growth and Development was one of the best decisions we have made. In one of our first sessions, the therapist said, “Come see what your son can do.” Those words were transforming. For the first time I was hearing someone say what he could do instead of what he couldn’t do. They loved my son exactly the way he was but did not put any limitations on the potential they saw for him. They laughed at his silliness and sympathized with his struggles – without ever sacrificing the integrity of the program. The Center embraced our whole family and for the first time I felt I could breathe when seeking therapy for my son.
Our 6 year-old was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder three years ago. We spent one year in a public school program, which was a frustrating experience. It is a horrible feeling to know that time is of the essence for interventions that will significantly impact the outcome of your child’s life, and to have to simultaneously wait for the resolution of administrative issues that limit the quality of care your child is receiving.
Thankfully, we discovered The Center for Growth & Development, where our son has received private services for the last two years. Two years ago, we would have never allowed ourselves to be so hopeful that our son would be doing as well as he is today. Our son is now difficult to pick out of a group of typical children and is about to re-enter public school with minimal support.
The comprehensive program that The Center for Growth & Development designed for our son included a 1:1 shadow that accompanied him to a typical preschool, 1:1 ABA therapy at The Center, facilitated play dates at home with a ABA therapist, and a social skills group at the Center to work on social issues often experienced by spectrum children.
The Center’s plan was brilliant! Here’s how it worked for our son: The 1:1 shadow at school allowed our son to be in a typical preschool, which gave him access to a room full of typically developing peer models to learn from. The shadow gave him the support needed to keep up with what was happening in the classroom, both academically and socially without his needs overwhelming the classroom teacher. The 1:1 ABA therapy provided step-by-step instruction on issues that came up at school or other areas that our son needed extra help. The facilitated play date at home offered him the opportunity to bond with classmates outside the classroom in a fun way while working on social goals AND offered us, as parents, a hands-on way to learn how to help our son with appropriate peer socializing. The social skills group reviews a social lesson and then allows time for practice in a safe and fun environment (my typically developing child cannot wait to be invited to attend the social skills group!). Additionally, we had regular team meetings to review our son’s progress and make a team plan until the next meeting. The staff was and is always there to provide helpful suggestions for issues that arise at home as well.
We could not imagine where our son would be right now had it not been for The Center for Growth & Development. We feel he is perched for success in this next adventure of his life. We cannot thank the staff at The Center enough.
The Center made it possible for my son to recover from an autism spectrum disorder. They are one of the few ABA providers that have the experience and technology to teach children Theory Of Mind, one of the core deficits of autism. Parents have no idea how fortunate they are to have access to this caliber of talent. Unfortunately, what they know isn’t mainstreamed into schools and providers across the country.
The Center were the only people that understood my son, and knew what he needed. They created, implemented, and oversaw his development from age 3 to age 6. They collaborated with our other therapists, making our program concise and just what my son needed week after week. Our team were trained by the very best people in the business, and continue to learn from our children. They truly enjoy working with our children, and are dedicated and invested in their progress.
I have also seen The Center work the same miracles with my friends’ children with various functioning levels and unique needs. They have the ability to meet the needs of every child an individual. Not a day goes by where I don’t think of what they have done for us.
It is with great pleasure that I recommend The Center for Growth & Development to families in need of ABA therapy for their children. Having served my boys, now ages 11 & 13, for the past ten years, the Center for Growth and Development means much more to us than just our ABA provider, they are like family.
As founder of the Autism Parents Group, a support group of over 200 families with children on the autism spectrum in FairfieldCounty, a board member for SPED*NET Wilton, and having been involved with many ABA providers on the school district level, I could undoubtedly say that The Center for Growth and Development is a leader in the field.
The staff is highly educated, thoroughly trained and the nicest group of people under one roof that I have ever met. The Center’s employees display a high work ethic, are extremely dependable, and are very understanding and nurturing. I’m very impressed with empathy, caring and knowledge toward children; they understand the way a child with autism thinks and feels. Their advanced approach has been proven to be effective in the families they serve. My own children are leaps and bounds beyond what I had originally dreamed. My younger son currently attends school without support, thanks to the Center. My older son continues to need support, however the gaps in his academics and communication are diminishing. He is more engaged socially and able to participate and absorb the information within the classroom setting, keeping up with the other children. Of course, he will always need assistance with his social and emotional development, however he continues to surprise us all and has made great strides. This past summer he attended a typical sleepaway camp for the first time and was able to successfully go without support! He had a fantastic time, made a friend (for the first time on his own) and keeps saying that he cannot wait until next summer to go again. This milestone would not have been possible without the foundational skills he received and the pre-planning, involvement, and support from his team of therapists and his consultant from the Center.
The Center’s convenient location on the Norwalk/Wilton border doesn’t hurt either. It is so helpful to be able to drop off your child in good hands and be able to ricochet around to complete your errands (or have a quick cup of coffee with a friend). The Center for Growth and Development would be an asset to any family affected with autism and I sincerely recommend them.
Having a child with special needs puts you into a world of teachers that others do not fully appreciate. Life for my daughter has been overwhelming; from a medical perspective, from a sensory perspective. For 15 years, I have met and worked with a myriad of professionals trying their best to help. But despite their hard work and love for my child, no one knew how to teach her.
What about growth and development? It was only at The Center that a cohesive, highly trained team implemented an approach that brought progress. Step by step, we opened up a new world to my child. She has made gains there that I dared not to dream of anymore. The Center is allowing her to make the most of her abilities.
When our first born son was diagnosed with Autism 8 1/2 years ago we were devastated. All we kept hearing from the doctors was how delayed he was. We were desperate to find a group to help us and we were fortunate to find the Center. They changed my child’s life. They always stressed what he could do and showed us how much potential he had. As he got older, their programs changed to adapt to his changing needs. They always embraced my child’s challenges with a positive attitude.
The Center staff not only work with your child, but with the whole family to help the child interact with his siblings and to help integrate the child into the community. They also collaborate with your other providers, such as speech therapists and occupational therapists – strategies and targets from the other providers are incorporated in Center programming.
Our child is now a happy, engaged 11 year old that has achieved so much and has so much potential. He attends public school and is an integral part of his community. The Center and its therapists are like family to us and we are so grateful to them for all that they have done for our family and continue to do for us.
Our son was diagnosed with Autism and Apraxia at the age of 19 months. At that time our family started the journey of finding our son services that would best suit his needs. Through some trail and error we came upon the Center for Growth and Development. I knew after the first few times our son was there this was a one of kind facility that would provide our son with the very best. When he started at the Center he was non-verbal. After just a few short sessions he was uttering sounds and now at the age of 5 he is putting together sentences. His favorite past time was being by himself watching the wheels of toy trucks spin. It gives us great joy to watch him engagaing with his sisters and classmates and participating in age appropriate play. He would not be where he is without the amazing, kind, smart, talented and patient staff at the Center.
When you walk into the Center there is always a positive and inviting feeling. The therapists at the Center have worked with my son not only at the Center but at pre school, home and in extra curricular activities which is such a benefit. The Center has become an extension of our family. We are so blessed to have Lynn and the staff at the Center working with our son. It is a great feeling to know my son is getting the very best on his journey to recovery.
All parents hope and dream for nothing but the best for their children. This certainly does not fall to the wayside when you discover your child has special needs. At age 2, my son was diagnosed with ASD, verbal apraxia, and sensory integration disorder. Although heartbreaking to discover our child has these challenges, we quickly understood that time is of the essence in getting into the appropriate therapies with the right group of people.
My son has been going to The Center for Growth and Development for 3 years now. From the onset, the Center has been key in helping my family navigate this new world… We have watched our son make amazing progress over the years. His individualized programs are delivered by highly trained therapists in a nurturing, structured and supportive environment. He continues to make great strides thanks to the skillfulness and dedication of his team members.
Balancing a days worth of therapies required for a child on the spectrum is difficult on many levels. However, we know innately that each day we are doing what needs to be done and our son is moving one step closer to achieving his potential. We know he is happy, safe, and learning when he is at the Center.
We know we are leaving him in the capable hands of caring individuals who have his best interests at heart, and who will help him put his best foot forward. We know in our hearts that it is the people we surround our son with that will shape his future. “It takes a village to raise a child” as the saying goes…
We have unwavering beliefs in the capabilities of our son and the talents and expertise of his team members at the Center. Together they work hard every day, and together, they possess the keys to unlock the doors…
The staff at the Center for Growth and Development has certainly touched the life of our little boy. But they have also touched the lives of our entire family. We will be forever grateful for being given the gift of hope for a bright future.
When our son was diagnosed with Autism, we were shattered. The only thing that made our lives bearable was the knowledge that he was in the hands of such highly capable and compassionate therapists. Without the crucial intervention provided by The Center, he would not be the happy, engaged and expressive little boy he is today.
My son was diagnosed by The Yale Child Study Clinic, and The McCarton Center (NYC) as autistic in Early 2006. Both Yale and McCarton advised us that The Center for Growth and Development (owned by Lynn Hartigan) would be the best ABA provider for us, and our son.
We became clients of The Center for Growth and Development in March, 2006.
In November of 2008, Our son was diagnosed by Dr. McCarton as no longer meeting the label of Autism, and she considered him as “recovered”. He will be entering the public school system as a typical 5 year old, without the need of supports, aides.etc.
Lynn Hartigan, Gail Felice, BCBA and the staff of therapists of The Center for Growth and development are incredible. Thanks to Lynn and her staff, my son can now live life as a normal, typical child.
My six year old son was diagnosed with Autism in 2010 and today we are happy to say he is in a typical kindergarten classroom with minimal support in our home school in NJ. When my son was diagnosed with Autism 3 years ago, we didn’t imagine that a typical school would be a possibility for him; but Lynn, Gail, Melissa, and Andrea through their incredible dedication expertise and therapies tailored to meet all of his challenges have completely transformed our son from a boy who was unable to focus and communicate or sit in a classroom with other children to a boy we hardly recognize. He is so happy, making friends and thriving in school. Words cannot express our appreciation for what the Center has done for our son and my family. We could have found ABA services in NJ, but after one meeting with the Center we knew we had found the answer.
When our twins were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, we had no idea what our next step should be. From our first meeting with the staff at CGD, we knew we found the right environment for our boys. The staff was warm, friendly and professional from day 1. My children immediately felt at ease, which was a great comfort to us. Through creative means, the team at CGD was able to find what motivated each of my children to learn. Thanks to their dedication, my boys have a solid foundation for learning.
When we first came to the Center for Growth and Development 7 years ago we weren’t sure what would become of our recently diagnosed son. The therapists at the Center worked hard with him adding hours as needed. They took this non-verbal child with no social skills or any eye contact and turned him into a verbal, well functioning member of society. He has always been mainstreamed and most people say he is the sweetest boy they ever met.
It was not easy. There were tears, tantrums and sometimes there were delays in his progress which made life difficult for me as a parent. Through it all, the Center became more than just a place that worked with my son who lives with Autism.
They counseled us as a family, taught us how to help him as well as our other two children. Our boys are in a social group that has gotten them to socialize and appreciate each other in ways I never thought possible.
Our second son, although typically developing was acting out at school and the Center assisted him with figuring out how to handle his frustrations which included expressing himself appropriately as well as talking about what he expected from his relationship with his brother. Our youngest, a girl, has taken advantage of the preschool/nursery which also has a very talented staff of teachers as well as therapists.
I can’t begin to say how blessed my entire family has been by the very talented people over at the Center. The owner Lynn has personally helped each one of my children. She was there when I cried because it finally hit me that my son was going to live with Autism. Lynn went without hesitation to my second son’s school when I said he was having trouble and worked with the school staff to put a plan in place that led to his success. Our daughter was delayed in speech and she was the first person I contacted. She came right over to my house to assess the situation and assured me all was well. Once your family becomes part of the Center’s family they help you, your child and your lives in more ways than even I could have imagined.
They practically moved into my house and helped toilet train my son. They helped with feeding, self help skills, sleeping issues and even shadowed at play dates. They went through my trials and tribulations with me when I sought a private school that would see beyond my son’s Autism. Lynn even went as far as calling and scheduling appointments with headmasters to argue in favor of our son’s admission to their school. Actually, she fought for our younger son as well.
Today my son is extremely bright, articulate and most of all happy. I can’t imagine, nor do I want to imagine where he would be today if the Center had not been a part of our lives. My sons have a great relationship, which we still continue to work on through the Center. My daughter loves going to the nursery and playing with her friends. Finally, we have found the son that we thought we lost much in part to the Center.
After our son was diagnosed, no one, including our pediatrician was able to offer clear and comprehensive guidance. Fortunately, we found the Center for Growth and Development. The Center integrates ABA, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and whatever works into our son’s treatment. With kindness and openness, in less than a year, our son has gone from being non-verbal, disengaged and clearly frustrated into a chatty, engaged, flirty boy. The Center is helping us prepare for Kindergarten by providing shadow support in preschool. We are so grateful to all of our friends at the Center. They have done wonders for us….all of us!