Ben’s early intervention story: Behind the scenes

I’ll never forget my first video shoot with Easter Seals. I had just finished interning for nine months and was four months into my first full-time job. I was beyond excited to tag along to Milwaukee and meet Kyle Mayer, Easter Seals’ 2011 child representative. We saw him run around at recess with his classmates at school, play board games with his siblings during P.L.A.Y therapy at home and just be a typical, sweet 7-year-old. That’s a long way from how his mom described him  a couple years earlier—as a kid who wouldn’t interact with anyone. After spending the day with Kyle and his family, I first understood the “mission moments” my colleagues talked about.

Fast forward four years. My coworker, the video crew and I were back on the road in Milwaukee shooting B-roll and interviews for the April issue of Parents magazine. This time, I met Ben Jimenez (pictured), a spunky, smart 4-year-old who lives with autism. Behind the scenes, we followed Ben at school, met his equally spunky preschool friends, cheered him on during P.L.A.Y. therapy and listened to his parents, teachers and therapists tell us about early intervention and how it’s made all the difference for him.

Help with skills, like walking, jumping and communicating will benefit kids for the rest of their lives. And, the earlier the better, our interviewees said. That’s why Easter Seals created the Make the First Five Count® campaign to advocate for these early services that literally change families’ lives.

I am so excited to bring you the Jimenez family’s story so you, too, can share in a “mission moment.” Today, I’m just as amazed at the work Easter Seals does for families like Ben’s as when I started four years ago! I am continually grateful for opportunities to witness this work firsthand. I hope you check out the other therapist and parent interviews on and inspire others to Make the First Five Count®.

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