Success Stories

Before MAC: Despair. Agony. Tears. Heartache. Loneliness. Guilt. Frustration. Anger. Scared. Defeat. Hopelessness. Struggles.  Tired. Just when you think you are alone and there is nowhere left to turn, MAC is there.  And slowly you exhale.  You wipe away tears to see progress.  You stand up straight again.  You smile more.  You realize you are not alone.  And that makes all the difference.

-Brian and Linda Coleman

Since 2011 when we found out that our son was on the spectrum, our experiences with MAC’s therapeutic and specialized programming has been one of the best success story we have had for our family. Our son has been improving ever since, both in terms of his learning ability and also in his socio-emotional. MAC’s Lead Therapists always teach us wonderful strategies that we can use at home. We are so appreciative to all the staff at MAC and believe our life would be difficult if we were not receiving the professional services we have here.

-Mohamud and Sadia Aden

I can’t imagine where our family would be without Minnesota Autism Center.  We came to MAC ten years ago hoping to find help for our son, instead we found help for our entire family.  Autism had left us confused, scared, frustrated, tired, and overwhelmed.  In a matter of weeks of working with MAC therapists, we began to see changes in our son and had ourselves gained skills that made life at home and in public more manageable and enjoyable.  Over the years, MAC staff has helped us with everything from potty training to puberty, and we are grateful to know they’ll be beside us as we navigate our son’s journey into adulthood.  Our family wouldn’t be the same without Levi, and Levi wouldn’t be the same without MAC. 

-Stacy Vanderwerf

MAC is such a wonderful part of our son’s life!  We have seen our son come so far in his progression.  The dedication, patience and true compassion the staff shows our son has absolutely been a gift. His therapists have helped him gain skills that are so beneficial to everyday life.  Their contribution has positively impacted him and has enriched the lives of all of us that love him.  I am so glad we found Minnesota Autism Center!

-Lauren Agrimson

MAC has taken a Person-Centered approach in providing my son with the opportunity to learn and grow utilizing his unique learning style and interests. This growth and independence would have never been achieved in a public school setting. Forever grateful.

-Tanya Verdugo

We started with MAC when we were at a loss of what the right decision was. Our son was in the school district with very attentive and fantastic teachers. We had a schedule down to every last detail.  But we were looking for more county support. Part of that was a diagnosis. We struggled to find professionals comfortable with making an Autism diagnosis on a 3 year old for fear of the label. For us, it wasn’t about that. We KNEW ASD was a part of our lives forever, it was about helping our son thrive and receive what he needed. We found MAC and their detailed assessments to determine the exact extent of the diagnosis and our child’s needs. Their assessment was clear, concise, and unbiased. I was worried that I was overreacting to behaviors and that we would leave with the same answer we got so often. But that wasn’t what happened. They diagnosed him with ASD.  And not only did they do that, they discovered the root causes of certain behaviors,  the areas he excelled at and what he struggled with in comparison to his peers, and they came up with detailed and rigorous treatment plans. We KNEW that with what they had recommended and all they had showed us that we needed to explore ABA therapy. It was rough starting out. We realized that we did many enabling things as a family and it was difficult to change those. They provided so much help to us on a personal level to guide us through those changes. Our son being stubborn is an understatement but they never gave up. They invest in each child so much that they treat them like their own family. The ultimate goal with ABA is mainstream life. Giving them life skills and having the same expectations for our kids as neuro-typical children while still respecting their individuality. Our son attended full time at MAC and we saw massive improvement. He went from 25 meltdowns a day (some hours long) to less than 5 a week. He became our little boy. He grew into a person who held conversations and could be silly and enjoy life. We have never regretted a moment of difficult nights potty training every 3 minutes and tears over using a different entrance than we are used to because it gave us our little boy. We still have tough times but MAC is always by our side. They are our family. We cannot imagine a life that they hadn’t been a part of. We are forever grateful for the opportunity we had to place our son there. It was life changing and it could be for so many others.

-Cathleen Smesrud

MAC has been an amazing journey for our family. I couldn’t ask for a better place for my child to learn and grow. Without MAC my child would not be where she is today. I highly recommend MAC!

–Jessica Perron

MAC has provided our child with a place to learn and grow. She is able to interact with friends, develop her skills and reach her growing potential. The staff works closely with us as parents to develop her goals and our understanding of ABA therapy. It has been a good partnership that benefits our child and family. Thanks for all you do!

-Michelle Quast

My daughter, Lauren started with MAC 4 years ago at age 3. They made the transition so easy!!! Our Lead Therapist and staff have been so resourceful and so accommodating with our family. The staff is always looking out for our best interest and looks out for Lauren. We have a close relationship with all of the staff. They spend 40 hours a week with my daughter. Four years ago I thought Lauren would never talk or get potty trained. She also can walk normally instead of on her tippy toes!!!! She can sit through 45 minutes of church, which is amazing!!! I never thought we’d be able to break these habits, but with MAC, she has!!! We are so grateful for all the hard work and patience that the staff has put forth. MAC IS AMAZING!!!!

-Jaime Sutherland

Our son Wyatt started MAC at age 3 nonverbal. Within 9 months he was speaking 3 word sentences. Now 6 years later he attends mainstream elementary with his MAC staff. Wyatt is making friends, enjoys attending school & sports activities. Through Family Skills with MAC we have been taught how to help our son with self-regulation and learning barriers. Wyatt has become a well-adjusted and self-sufficient 9 year old. We do not know what we would do without MAC in our lives. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all that you do for our son Wyatt.

-Jenny and Tim Arndt

It is hard to sum up what MAC is doing for Jacob. Jacob has been attending MAC about a year and a half. It was one of the hardest decisions. Jacob was attending a public school and I really liked the special education program he was in and the general education he was being integrated into. However this school was not able to fully meet Jacob’s Autism needs he really needed to be in an ABA program. He was behind in so many of his social skills, communication skills, he had sensory needs, fine motor needs, and this gap was getting bigger as Jacob was getting older. So when Jacob was accepted into the MAC program I was so excited but so scared. I was used to the traditional school program and was not sure if I wanted him to attend a full time Autism program year round. However, I decided to give it a try, I knew Jacob needed to gain these skills. He was starting to gain some of these skills from a previous Autism program he attended and we wanted to build on these skills. We knew his gap in these skills would only widen if we didn’t do something. MAC would give Jacob this opportunity. Fast forward to today. I can’t tell you how many times I have said, “MAC is the best decision we have made for Jacob.” He has learned so much. I feel like MAC has raised the bar for Jacob, pushed him even farther than I thought he could go. He has gained countless skills. He has grown so much it is amazing to me. It brings tears to my eyes to think of how scared I was to put him here. What if I wouldn’t have…..where would he be now?
Jacob has learned to wait when I am talking, tap my shoulder and say excuse me. He has learned to have a short phone conversation. He has learned to say someone’s name first when talking to them to get their attention first. He has learned to tell me when he doesn’t feel good). He can now wipe his face with a napkin and button his pants. He can play with his brother for short periods of time without me always facilitating it. He no longer has meltdowns that last for hours. I could go on and on. I know some are small victories but every victory helps us raise the bar higher and closes the gap just a little more between Jacob and his peers. I know Jacob will always have Autism but I want to help him reach this potential and I didn’t even realize all the potential Jacob has.
His Lead Therapist is amazing. She has gotten to know Jacob so well. She is anticipating what goal to work on next. She wants my opinion on how things should work and she is great about accepting my feedback in return. We meet weekly to work on Family Skills and goals I have for Jacob. It is great I am able to get help and education on Autism from her. She has given us so much insight and information. Doing this teaching weekly helps us to practice and reinforce what we are learning. She also works with Jacob’s brother so he can understand Autism better.
MAC has helped our whole family and I am so great full for them. Jacob is learning and growing every day he attends MAC. He loves his therapists and the other kids. It is an amazing place and I am blessed to have Jacob at MAC.

-Amanda Callies

Wyatt began attending MAC in September of 2016. In this short time Wyatt has really blossomed. His self-confidence has improved as well as his ability to engage with others. He answers questions in short sentences now as opposed to 1 word answers or just repeating the question. He is excited to go each morning. He really has shown much improvement in many basic programming areas. The staff has been fantastic in bringing out his personality and they also do a great job communicating with us.

–Robert Murphy

MAC has been with our family since John was four.  MAC has not only helped John progress in life skills, social skills, and schooling, but the love and care he receives each day has helped make him the loving young man we see today.  Jean & I just want you all to know how thankful we are to have the MAC school and its staff in John’s life each and every day. Thank you.

-Doug and Jean Trangsrud

The Minnesota Autism Center has changed our whole lives. We had to pull our son out of public school because the behaviors he displayed were not being handled correctly by the public school system. We had almost lost hope thinking this is just how life is. Then MAC came to our home started ABA therapy. It was very difficult to watch our son go through this therapy but within a few weeks we started seeing the difference the therapy was making. Any questions or concerns we had MAC was there to answer and guide us. Then the center open up and our son started going there and his progress just kept on going. My husband had to deploy with the Army for a year and MAC was behind us the whole way making social stories for our son and our daughter who didn’t even attend MAC. While Dad was gone our son struggle for the first few months and MAC did not give up they just adjusted his therapy. Within weeks again progress started and our son was able to keep succeeding. Before MAC, going to the grocery store even a gas station was impossible just the worry about what our son may do or wonder off to and may get hurt or destroy the store. Now we don’t even bat an eye taking him to Walmart or Target, it is enjoyable. Taking our son to a crowed place like our daughters school dances would have never happened if it were not for the therapy MAC has given to our son. He now enjoys and asked to go to her school. He always wants to have friends over which in the past he would hide or have behaviors.

There are not enough words to describe how much MAC has influenced our lives and helped in so many ways. I do not even want to think where our son would be if MAC was not available for him. I have the highest respect for the therapist of MAC and thank them for helping not only our son but our entire family.

-Jennilee Anderson

Our son Marc has made such significant progress in all areas of his development. We are particularly amazed at how well he embraces new experiences both at home and in the community regardless of how much stimulation is going in those settings. It has made a tremendous impact on our family life by equipping us to know how to best support Marc on a daily basis.

-Sue Wenner

Our son has been with the Minnesota Autism Center (MAC) for over 8 years. He did the home program for a year and then transferred to a center. We have seen a dramatic improvement with his skills in all areas. For example, sensory, fine and gross motor, speech- expressive and receptive and a decrease in his behaviors. What is endorsed thru MAC is ABA therapy which we feel has been the most influential change in Josh. Also, MAC’s philosophy incorporates developing skill levels at appropriate developmental age, and promote and expand his skill set.

MAC encompasses a specific care plan that is detailed and oriented to Josh. This includes several other disciplines as well, such as occupational therapy and speech therapy.

MAC includes our son family when determining goals for Josh. Family Skills has been helpful for us to gain knowledge and incorporate his goals at home.  We believe this consistency across different settings is very beneficial for Josh’s growth in this type of setting.

A typical day at MAC is very fluid, different rooms to work in, and different staff to work with Josh to ensure he is achieving his current treatment plan goals in several types of settings and with more than one staff. Most important for my child is to continue to reinforce goals that have been mastered so he does not lose skill.

-Troy and Holly Carlson

Minnesota Autism Center has made a big difference in our lives. Johannes has received services from MAC since he was 5 years old. He is now 10 and has advanced in substantial ways. From saying only a handful of words he can now express himself more adequately, he is more verbal than ever and can complete sentences and ask for what he wants and communicate how he feels. We have learned tools to help him calm down when he has a meltdown and he can even calm himself down sometimes. He has learned personal care, how to ride a bike, how to play, and even how to help around the house. He is an independent little boy and although he still has a long way to go, he is doing wonderfully and makes us very proud each day. We moved here from Sweden so that he could receive therapy from a place like MAC and we believe we made the right decision. We were very lucky to be able to have him at MAC and we are forever grateful.

-Monica Pettersson

Before my kids started at MAC I was feeling upside down. After starting the program they were listening and behaviors were down, eye contact was better, and they were understanding more. Myself as a mother was feeling better as well. MAC has done an amazing job for my kids. I enjoy MAC very much and they work hard to teach my kids. MAC teaches me a lot about how to deal with behaviors and how to handle the social aspect as well. MAC has taught me how to better engage with my children. I am very thankful for MAC.

-Fardus Ahmed