ROCKFORD (WREX) – When Jesse Mota was two years old, his mother knew there was something different about her son.
“After about a year, he stopped meeting his milestones and as a mom you kind of wonder what was happening,” said Kelli Wisz.
Kelli shared her concerns with multiple pediatricians and eventually consulted a specialist who diagnosed Jesse with Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder.
“Right after the dianosis, it was just a huge rush of a lot of different emotions.”
Kelli says the strongest of those feels was fear from not knowing how to navigate the new path for her family.
“Autism was a whole new world for us. We didn’t know anything about it, we had to do a lot of research so it was scary.”
The search for answers led them to the Early Intervention Program, where they connected with Denise Brue.
Brue started her career as a preschool teacher, but made a change after seeing the impact therapists had on a little girl she used to nanny.
“I learned first hand on the impact they had on her and that’s what really motivated myself to becoming a therapist,” said Brue.
When Brue started working with Jesse, he struggled to express himself emotionally.
Now, she says incredbile strides have been made in how he shows his feelings.
“He’s now not only willing to open up to his loved ones and his family, but he has opened up to myself and his occupational therapists as well.”
Brue gives a lot of credit to Kelli, who was on the floor with her from day one to learn how to live in this new world along with her son.
She is willing to take any suggestions and give Jesse any strides that he needs in his learning,” said Brue.
“She has the tools now and the strategies to impact his overall development.”
Kelli says the help Denise provides Jesse makes her more than just a counselor for the Wisz family.
“She’s helped my son as a therapist, but she’s also helped me as a mother,” said Wisz.
“Teaching me how to teach my son is something that I’ll never ever be able to express how grateful I am to her.”
A priceless gift Brue says occupational therapist are doing nationwide, raising awareness for the Autism community.
“If we all took more time to educate ourselves and really understand what Autism is, then as a whole we can all come together and support our children,” said Brue.
While Jesse has grown out of Early Intervention, Brue still pops in to check on how he is growing.
Jesse started preschool last week.