Thankful for Joanna Kooistra and JMK Behavior services, Inc

My 11 year old daughter was born at 29 weeks.  She was 1lb 10 oz.  She is truly a miracle.  She spent her first 3 months of her life in NICU.  We brought our daughter home weighing only 4lbs.  As we made it threw the first year of her life we knew she would be behind developmentally.  We were told by the pediatrician she would need some extra help to catch up. For the first 9 years of her life she did Developmental therapy (aged out at three), physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and ABA therapy (started at four).  Currently all we do is ABA therapy. Our daughter was progressing but slowly.  At the age of three the only diagnosis she had was Global Developmental delay (premature).  At this point we all (parents, therapists, and teachers) noticed there was something else going on with our daughter.  She did not look at us, she would pinch me very hard when she was frustrated or angry, she was not talking very much, and she was not catching up and still very behind developmentally, and had unsafe behaviors.  She had also aged out of early childhood intervention.  We were recommended at this time to seek out a Developmental and Behavioral pediatrician.  We found a great Doctor out of Rush University.  He diagnosed our daughter with Autism Disorder, Motor coordination disorder, ADHD, and Global Developmental delay.  He recommended we continue with OT, PT, and ST.  Even with her new diagnoses we were doing everything we knew of to help her, so we thought.  At age 4 we were told by her speech therapist about ABA therapy.  This sounded great to us.  I talked it over with her pediatrician and he agreed and wrote the order for ABA.  Now to find the Best ABA therapist.  My daughters speech therapist knew of someone she thought would be the perfect fit for my daughter and family. This is when things really started to change and significantly improve for my daughter.  I was introduced to Joanna Kooistra BCBA. When I first met Joanna my daughter was still in pull up diapers and potty training was a nightmare for my daughter and I. Things were not going well and I felt like I was traumatizing my daughter.  I was sending my daughter to pre-k wearing pull ups.  There were so many things I wanted my daughter to be able to do.  Things like communicate with me, look at me, acknowledged my existence, talk to me, stop hurting herself or me, and so much more.  I was becoming frustrated and feeling like I was a horrible mom.  Depression was a real thing at this time.  I decided after meeting Joanna that I needed more help for my daughter and she had a good plan.  Not to mention my daughter really liked her. So I hired Joanna to be our ABA therapist.  She accepted the the task and our Journey began.  Joanna has helped my daughter and my family threw so many things.  Early on (age 4/5) it was potty training (this in itself was a huge challenge), communicating using pointing or one two words etc.  she helped with daily life skills, tantrums, melt downs, school transitions, IEP’s and so much more.  Not only did Joanna work with my daughter she worked with the family so we could continue the plans we had set when she was not there.  To this day we do ABA Therapy with Joanna and JMK Behavior Services, Inc. Our services and plans have evolved with our daughter and her ever changing needs and challenges.  We work hard on things like homework, reading, writing, mathematics, self help skills, social skills, activities, school and IEP help (so we all stay on same page and path) all things my daughter struggles with daily.  My daughter has come a long way and continues to make leaps and bounds with her ABA therapy and her life.  My daughter is currently doing things I never thought would be possible.  She is being blended out of her autism class with her general peers a little at a time, she is in a dance class for special needs children, she is in cheer for special needs children, and even in chorus at school.  Her academics are slowly improving and her social behaviors are improving.  She still has troubles, worries, and frustrations but with good plans from Joanna and JMK life is so much better for her.  Joanna is AMAZING and her staff at JMK are all wonderful and have helped my daughter and family so much I am forever going to be thankful to them.  My daughter still faces challenges in life but I think as long as we are with Joanna BCBA and JMK behavior services my daughters future continues to look bright.  My daughters will be a productive member of society, she will continue to learn at school and go on to college, and one day will have a job and family of her own.  I am forever grateful for this opportunity for my daughter and would highly recommend Joanna and JMK staff if you want all these things for your child as well.

With Lots of Love,
The Flodins