Tilley Family | Arkansas | Lyndsay C. Photography

Thank you to Lyndsay C. Photography for being a volunteer photographer with us and for taking the time to document Ely and his family. 

Words by Ely's mother, Lacey, 

"We suspected that something wasn't typical in Ely's development around 18 months of age. This triggered us to seek assistance from our pediatrician. At this point, Ely would only sleep one to two hours a night and wouldn't speak. He was referred to Friendship Community Care for early intervention therapies at this point. After being at FCC for a short time, the therapists there referred us to Dennis Developmental Center. It was there Ely received his official autism diagnosis at two years of age.
The diagnosis was both scary and a relief, bc we had no idea what was going on with him at this point. He hardly slept, was emotionally distant and wouldn't eat much at all. It was a daily battle at this point of his life. Ely started getting three days a week of therapies at this time. He received Speech, OT and PT. Due to his early intervention he was able to start Kindergarten on time and has been very successful with continued supports that he has received from the Hector School District; loving teachers, aides and continued therapies with amazing therapists. 

Today, Ely continues to excel and beat the odds of his diagnosis on a daily basis. We accredit this largely to him being accepted in the community, by his peers at school and the love of his family. Ely has 8 first cousins that he spends a great deal of time with. He is treated no differently than they are. Our goal for Ely is to continue to grow and to become all that he wants to be. Our family is forever grateful for the love that has been to extended to Ely over the years."

Sarah Driscoll