DELRAY BEACH, Fla - "You want to play?" Laina Albert asks her five-year-old daughter, Morgan, in their Delray Beach home. She's enjoying the new relationship she has with her child.
"I think she was a child in a cloud, just in a place we couldn't reach," said Laina. "Now I have a child who knows who we are."
Her parents say Morgan is on the severe end of the autism spectrum, and she works constantly with therapists, including Jessica Cadette.
"The earlier the better," said Cadette. "So for example, Morgan has been with us since she was three."
Six days a week Morgan's routine includes home-based speech, occupational, educational therapy and more coordinated by the Lovaas Center.
Laina's background is in speech pathology and her husband Gregg is a plastic surgeon. But their medical expertise didn't make finding suitable programs for Morgan any easier.
"We got so many different options, it's hard to figure out which one to use. That's why it takes persistence," said Dr. Gregory Albert.
Persistence ultimately led the couple to the Center for Autism Related Disabilities (CARD).
"I think the CARD program is an amazing program, and it is not costly," said Laina Albert. "They can help you find resources and that was the best thing I ever did. It was the least expensive of all the things and all the people we were asking for help. It was the most effective because it led us to this home-based program."
Morgan is off to kindergarten now at a local public school where she will be with other classmates on the autism spectrum. It is a big leap for a beautiful child.
"She's made such gains and I think the biggest thing is I feel like I have a relationship with her now, where before 2-3 years ago, was a real disconnect. So it is special," said Dr. Gregory Albert.