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Family Child Learning Center's educational approach treats kids like their own

Alex attends FCLC's integrated research preschool

At 18 months, Alex Moff was an energetic and talkative toddler, with a vocabulary of 20 to 30 words. But at 26 months, those words were gone.

“He lost them all,” said his mother, Jennifer Moff. “He acted like he couldn’t remember or find them. They were ones he knew and used for months.”

Jennifer and her husband, Allen, also noticed other changes. Alex stopped answering to his name. He seemed withdrawn and not as friendly or outgoing. With the birth of her second son, Kyle, Jennifer at first speculated that Alex was adjusting to the new baby. However, she soon realized something else was happening.

“He was indifferent,” she said. “One night, Kyle was lying on our bed and Alex jumped up next to him. It scared Kyle, and he started to cry, but Alex didn’t react at all.”

With the growing concern for Alex’s speech, Allen and Jennifer took him for a speech and language screening at Akron Children’s. Results showed that he had expressive and receptive language disorders. After qualifying for the Ohio Help Me Grow program and receiving a subsequent evaluation, Alex met the criteria to receive early intervention services.

The Moffs were referred to the Family Child Learning Center (FCLC), a collaborative between Akron Children’s and Kent State University.

A Safe Haven

Jennifer was immediately impressed with the level of care they received. Several interventionists sat down with her and Allen to talk about their son.

“Everyone was interested in our boy before he was even theirs,” she says. “They weren’t interested in a diagnosis right away, and they didn’t want to label him. They wanted him to come, to get to know him, and to start working with him.”

Located in Tallmadge, Ohio, FCLC is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of children from birth to 5 with developmental concerns, as well as their families. For the Moffs, FCLC was exactly what they needed.

Together, the Moffs and the center’s early intervention team discussed the strategies Alex would need, and Jennifer and Allen were part of his caretaking team.

The Moffs began to learn responsive teaching strategies to help Alex. The techniques used at the center and in their home created play activities that helped Alex start to communicate again.

Before Alex turned 3, Allen and Jennifer took him to FCLC to meet with John Duby, MD, director of developmental-behavioral pediatrics at Akron Children’s and medical director of the Family Child Learning Center. Alex was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.


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