MAUMEE, OH (WTOL) - The Mercy Autism Center is creating miracles for five-year-old Lilly, who has been struggling with the challenges of autism for several years.
Lilly's mother Dessie noticed Lilly's delayed speech when she was two years old. Mother's intuition told her to see and doctor and seek help.
Her judgment was spot on.
Doctors placed Lilly in speech therapy, and even tried placing her in daycare to help strengthen that motor skill.
"It didn't go quite as well as we planned. The teachers really didn't know what to do with her. Some of them didn't want her there. So once the specialist diagnosed her with autism, she recommended Mercy," said Dessie.
Lilly receives one-on-one therapy from therapist Alexis Monday through Friday at the Autism Center in Maumee. This schedule allows both of her parents to work and alleviate some of their stress.
"When she first got here, we were kind of nervous calling all the time and checking up on her and everything like that. But now it's to the point where we trust everyone here and we know that they have the best thing and place for her," said Lilly's dad Jarman.
After two years of learning and playing in the donor-funded playroom at Mercy, Lilly has made strides her parents never knew were possible. She can now express herself and her needs.
Something as simple as asking for a snack, something Lilly can now do, is a major feat she had to overcome. Her socials skills, eye contact and growth have all improved. Her parents credit all her progress to Mercy.
Dessie talks about and looks at her daughter with admiration and love.
"Lilly, my little princess," her mother calls her with a big smile. "Lilly is energetic, she's fun, she's so smart, very unique in her own way. She has the best personality, she's my joy."
The love from her parents and the patience from her therapist has gotten Lilly ready for her next big step. She is heading to kindergarten next fall. A scary thought for any parent, let alone parents who have a child faced with Lilly's challenges.
"Her being around those other kids, I'm kind of nervous because I don't know what or how they're going to treat her. That's the whole thing, we don't want anybody to treat her differently or bad because she doesn't speak like them, so it's kind of hard," Jarman said.
Despite their fears, they know Lilly will come out on top, just like she has at Mercy Autism Center.