Sea Harbor Center
Autism Spectrum Disorders Specialty Program
Orlando, FL

I have to just let any reader of this letter know how ecstatic I am as a parent of an autistic 9-year-old son who has had severe behavioral, social, eating, hygiene, and other issues. When we first contacted the Sea Harbor Center our son would have severe breakdowns when he did not get his way, and for no apparent reason would just start having fits. He would not participate in class, follow the teachers’ directions or play with peers. He would not eat at a table and is very picky about what he eats, he was not potty trained, and I had a hard time giving him typical medication for colds and such. He had a problem with his focus as well as exercise (bike riding, playground playing, even swimming). He loved to swim but would not listen when it was time to leave.

We brought him up to Sea Harbor for the initial evaluation, and what a great group of people. Even though it was a tough situation for us (being three hours away from the facility) we felt right then and there that it was the right place—a place that could help him. The facility was new, clean, safe and seemed to have the answer to all of our questions. After meeting with him the Sea Harbor team (and it is a team) and we thought that it would be the right place to try to help our son.

As each day went by, reports got better, the morning and evening calls got better. After just one week I saw changes in him. He had his ninth birthday there and we had a small celebration. He was a different child ... it was a great birthday present for all of us.

After four weeks, he had a great turnaround. Upon leaving Sea Harbor, he is using the toilet, he bike rides daily, he participated in school the rest of the year (singing songs, doing work, responding to the teachers), he is using words and growing his language skills, he listens to other in public, he takes medication now almost without any fuss, and he does not get lost in his own world. The doctor at Sea Harbor prescribed Prozac, which he takes daily. Now all I have to do is call his name and he comes running. He asks for things and activities. The list goes on. He, of course, is still autistic, but we have a life together.

After years of trial and error with little success, I know he could not have done this without the great work of the team at Sea Harbor. They care, they listen and they understand—they made the difference! I have told a number of facilities down here in the Palm Beach area, and I hope this letter gets to others, as I am sure that they can and will help other children and families with autism issues.

Best to the Sea Harbor team, and future families that they help!

~John Lytle