Tyler, TX- Mariely Cabrera feels passionate about raising awareness about autism, specifically in her Hispanic community.
“In the Hispanic community, autism isn’t talked about often and being able to teach those around us what the signs are and what the behavior is like helps reduce the stigma,” she said.
Early signs of autism that she saw in her son Ramon included: not responding to his name, talking delays, hand flapping, struggle with transitions, limited interaction with other children, and lining up toys, to name a few. But her journey to getting him an autism diagnosis wasn’t easy.
“I was feeling like I was getting nowhere. I have been fighting for this since my son was 1.5 years old,” she said.
Mariely came across a Facebook ad for a company called As You Are and considered it because of her struggles getting an appointment, but because of the virtual nature of the evaluations, she was immediately skeptical. Telehealth was not something she had considered for her son because at the time, she did not know if it was legitimate. So, she ignored the ad. In the meantime, despite numerous referrals for her son to centers providing in-person autism evaluations, she says not one place would accept her insurance. On top of that, waitlists were longer than 9 months and she’d have to drive a couple of hours to get to a clinic.
Mariely shared her frustrations with an occupational therapist, who let her know that As You Are, a virtual clinic for autism evaluations, was an option. That’s when Mariely remembered the Facebook ad for virtual autism evaluations and now felt comfortable enough to schedule an appointment. She visited the website, AsYouAre.com, and was able to schedule an autism evaluation herself, without a referral, in a matter of days.
She said, “It’s such a relief to be able to get that appointment right away without waiting months or years.You guys are fixing what’s wrong with the healthcare system for our kids!”
Thanks to As You Are, 3-year-old Ramon was evaluated by a pediatrician and received an official medical diagnosis. He is now on the path to getting his therapies scheduled.
“Now that he has the autism diagnosis, the insurance is not fighting us on speech therapy, OT, or ABA therapy. It just opened the door of resources to help him thrive,” she said.
Ramon’s father, Ramon Cabrera said, “As You Are gave us peace of mind. Now we can seek help for our son, which will also help us to become better parents and understand him.”
Ramon’s parents want others to know that receiving a diagnosis has opened up so many doors for Ramone to help him thrive.
“To be able to get him answers, it’s such a relief more than anything and it makes me feel hopeful, finally,” Mariely said.