By Kelly Rayl

The Yuma Pioneer

The Armstrong family of Yuma will have an extra special Thanksgiving this year. They get to move home.

Mitchell Armstrong, the 4-year-old son of Jeremy and Megan Armstrong was diagnosed with severe autism when he was two years and nine months old. Autism is distinguished by a wide variation of social, communication, and cycled behaviors. Symptoms are different and can range from mild to severe.

After a trip to Children’s Hospital in Denver, an appointment that took nine months to acquire, Mitch and his family had a diagnosis, severe autism. The doctor’s at Children’s Hospital recommended intense therapy.

ABA therapy, which is Applied Behavior Analysis. Mitchell needed more than the three hours per week with his speech therapist, he needed 40 hours.

At the time of Mitchell’s diagnosis, there was not the kind of intense therapy services available in Yuma. Mitchell needed 40 hours of intense therapy to improve his quality of life, improve the quality of his life with family and friends.

The Armstrong family had to make a big decision.

They moved to Fort Collins.

Megan Armstrong, a former teacher and coach in the Yuma School District, quit her job and moved her boys, they have two children, to Fort Collins, so Mitchell could get the kind of help he needed.

Mitchell Armstrong is pictured above with his therapist, Chase Fagan. (Courtesy Photo)

Jeremy Armstrong is in Yuma during the week running his business, Armstrong LLC and joining the family on the weekends.

Without the Armstrong family’s help, we would never have been able to manage, they have been incredible.” Megan said.

Ron and Sue Armstrong, Jeremy Armstrong’s parents and long time residents of Yuma, were able to purchase a house in Fort Collins for the family and both grandparents have spent time with Megan and boys during the week.

Not only did the Armstrong family pull together and help, the Jeff Armstrong Foundation, a foundation that has built a beautiful ballpark on the east side of town and is named for their son Jeff, who was tragically lost in an automobile accident, huge steps have been taken to help others that may be facing the same kinds of problems in their lives.

The CARD Center. A center that Mitchell attends and sometimes travels with, is being planned to be built in Yuma. CARD stands for Center for Autism and Related Disorders. A center that employs specially trained therapists to help children and adults overcome some of the debilitating symptoms of autism. The CARD program includes comprehensive and cutting-edge c

The CARD Center therapists have changed our outlook,” Megan said. “In the two years that Mitch has received therapy, he has greatly improved his speech, he now speaks in full sentences and the therapists have also come into our home to help Mitch play with his little brother Jameson.” Jameson is two years old. “We have taken field trips with Mitch and his therapist to the Butterfly Pavilion. He can make eye contact now, speak full sentences, play with his brother. It takes lots of work, but we are looking forward to all the possibilities.”

After a diagnosis from Children’s Hospital, a prescription was written for ABA therapy for Mitchell. Mitchell receives therapy that their health insurance company helps pay for.

The CARD Center needs 10 clients to open. Megan says there has been a lot of interest, but no actual applications to enroll. Early intervention is best, but the CARD Center can work with children 18 months old to adult. Information packets are available from Megan, her phone number is 303-918-6293 or you can visit the CARD Center online at www.centerforautism.com

Life changing. Hope. Possibilities.