We are Nick & Katie Goergens and we reside in Delphos, OH. Nick works in the Automation Industry and I stay home. We have four little girls, Madelynn, Lillian, Hazel, and Aubreigh and are currently expecting a son!
Recently, in our surrounding communities, we have been involved in search efforts for two children who wandered off and became missing – both of whom had Autism. This really hit home for us, as we have a daughter who is non-verbal and has Autism; she does not understand the dangers of wandering off. These tragedies have opened our eyes to just how quickly things can happen. We started questioning whether we are doing everything in our power to prevent this from happening to not only our family, but other families that have loved ones with Autism.
We started our journey with Early Intervention in October of 2019 with our daughter Aubreigh. In the beginning, we struggled, as any parent does, to accept that our little girl was behind and that there could be something “wrong.” It was heartbreaking to see her sisters try to interact with her and receive no acknowledgment. Aubreigh struggles with normal day-to-day activity and communicating. We were informed early on that Aubreigh showed all the indicators for Autism Spectrum Disorder, otherwise known as ASD. Because of that, Nick and I dived into research. We wanted to learn all we could and educate our girls on this as well. In June 2020, Aubreigh was officially diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Global Developmental Delay, and Mixed Receptive Expressive Language Disorder by the Developmental Clinic at Dayton Children’s Hospital. I would be lying if I said it is not a very intimidating diagnosis. The unknown is the scariest. We think its extremely important for parents and families to go through the process that comes with a diagnosis of Autism, or any developmental disorder. Its OKAY to grieve the child you thought you would have, but then move on from that. Accept it, embrace it and then be proud of it. The journey is quite beautiful!
Since we started, Aubreigh has made huge strides!
She is in Occupational, Physical, Speech and Equestrian therapies as well as PLAY PROJECT and attends Developmental Classes. She has recently started using tablet communication and American Sign.
. We want Aubreigh to grow up and be proud of who she is and all the progress she has made. She has had such an impact on all of us, including her sisters. They ask so many questions and are so eager to help when she has a bad day. They join us in praise when she does something new, and in conversation when talking about Autism with someone who doesn’t quite understand. Aubreigh and Autism have made all of us better human beings. She has taught us more than we could ever teach her.
She is the reason we started Operation Save the Lost, which provides Jiobit Tracking Devices to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. (We use this device for Aubreigh.) Our goal is to locate a child before they wander into danger, which includes but is not limited to, traffic, ponds, rivers, lakes, woods, etc. Aubreigh's choice are the power lines and telephone poles that line the road. Who knew something so simple and so abundant, could be so high risk?
No parent should have to experience the pain of not knowing where their child is, if they are safe or the unbearable, losing a child. We know people might not be aware of the options – like a Jiobit – or may not be able to afford the device and monthly subscription. Our organization makes it possible for families to have that extra safety measure, regardless of financial situations. Safety is our number one priority and no family should have to struggle to provide that for their child.