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Art By: Susan Green

Preschool Success Stories

Progress and Persisting Stereotypes

A Parent's Perspective: Theresa Mooney, Westchester Arc Board of Directors


In 2003, my youngest daughter, Catherine, was diagnosed with PDD, which is on the autistic spectrum. She was only 17 months old, and I had no idea of what autism was or of the journey we would now undertake to a whole new world.

In the past four years, I have learned about schools and organizations that are available to help my daughter, as well as other children with developmental disabilities. I consider myself a very fortunate parent because The Children’s School for Early Development was there when I needed to find Catherine an early intervention program and then a pre-school program. My school district does not provide a kindergarten class for children who have severe speech delays but worked with me to find an out-of-district program that fits her needs. I also do not worry about the future as much because of Westchester Arc and all the programs they have to offer.

When Catherine first started school at the age of two, she had no speech, would constantly cry and would not participate in any structured activity. But as a result of intensive school programs, she now sits for circle time, is learning her letters and numbers, loves the computer and, most of all, is learning to talk. It is wonderful to have such great programs for the children who need them. I can not imagine how hard it was years ago for the parents who created these programs for their children. Those parents provided a path for many children like my daughter and for many more to come.