Diane Charapich is a Family Support Partner Coach at Mount Roger Community Services. Before coming to work with Mount Rogers, Charapich’s son received services through the agency.
When Charapich’s son was in Kindergarten, his teacher recommended an evaluation for ADHD. After receiving the results of that evaluation from a different provider, Charapich’s son started treatment and medication for ADHD. Instead of helping, his behaviors seemed to get worse. Charapich says, “We struggled. I kept telling them something is just not right. He was very angry, impulsive, and the meds just don’t seem to be working.”
Charapich and her son continued to struggle for the next six years. He had two hospitalizations, and Charapich was forced to consider residential treatment. “It was very hard. I was constantly battling with myself with how have I failed my child as a parent? What have I done wrong.”
After her son’s second hospitalization, Charapich and her son’s treatment team at Mount Rogers worked together to find another answer. Six years after the initial ADHD diagnosis, a new Psychological Evaluation revealed the answer they had been looking for. Charapich says, “The day that the Psychological Evaluation came back, my Case Manager asked if she could come out and talk to me at work. She came out and talked to me and said, ‘Dr. Qualls says he is autistic. He fell on the spectrum.’ As a mother, I was relieved. I always knew their was a piece of the puzzle missing.”
With the new autism diagnosis, treatment changed. So did life in the Charapich household. There were no more hospitalizations, no more thoughts of residential treatment. “It made me look at my child differently, in a way of understanding him better,” she says. Now, Charapich’s son is 19-years-old and doing as well as he ever has. Meanwhile, Charapich is working as a Family Sypport Partner Coach for Mount Rogers. Here, she helps families who are experiencing the same thing she was seven years ago.