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Today, 1 in 59 children are diagnosed with autism. HeartShare’s early childhood programs target developmental delays as soon as possible. “At two years old, he was pointing and talking, but still couldn’t verbalize at times,” recalled Brandon’s mother, Tatiana. During his two years as a pre-schooler at HeartShare’s Cuomo First Step Early Childhood Center, Brandon was exposed to the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) curriculum, in which he learned Common Core academic units, while also receiving specialized therapeutic interventions. “Brandon worked a lot with his speech therapist, including reviewing words on flash cards. One Christmas, he experienced this word explosion. Brandon had so much to say and I know it was because of all of those resources available to him,” noted Tatiana. “As a parent of a child with developmental delays, the earlier you get involved, the better the results,” she said proudly. At HeartShare, Brandon gradually was introduced to a less restrictive classroom environment and ultimately transitioned to an integrated Kindergarten at P.S. 62 in Queens. Alongside his classmates and under the guidance of one of his Kindergarten teachers, Veronica Fera, Brandon completed his morning word exercises. When asked about his favorite school activities, Brandon smiled and said, “I like to take books out of the library.”