our story


Karolyn Masters ~ founder of Behind The Smile

Thank you for visiting Behind the Smile. I started this site soon after my son was diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) as a way to share our journey and also help other families who are embarking into the same world. It is life changing yes, but along with the challenges comes an abundance of blessings. My hope is to help educate others about this disorder and show the positive side and the growth that is possible when these amazing people are given the tools that are needed. From ABA Therapy, to diet to detoxing, there are many ways to help their bodies and brains function at a higher level.

My vision for Behind the Smile is to be a “hub” for ASD information. Since I can relate to being a single mom, my heart is to help other single mom’s who have the same challenge of not only raising a child with special needs but also figuring out how to pay for all of the costs that are above and beyond the funding that is available. It’s an overwhelming task on the best of days but even the smallest gesture of support can give us the “umpf” to keep trucking!

My goal is to include as many single ASD mom donation pages on the Behind The Smile as possible, giving these amazing families an understanding, caring, helping hand.

In the words of John Wooden,  Seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.

Karolyn Masters

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ShaynaKerriePhotography-63471-680x1024My first indication something was different with my Zane was that his speech was delayed. The public health nurse noticed this during a home visit after bringing our premature daughter Piper home after 3 weeks in the NICU. I hadn’t picked up on the speech delay with Zane as I had been unable to take care of him and see his day to day growth and change due to being on strict bedrest for 3 months before my daughter was born.

I had Zane assessed by a Speech Therapist a couple months later to start the process of getting on the year long wait list for actual therapy to begin. She noted that he was “At Risk for Social Communication Issues” which I thought meant just a speech delay. Little did I know this actually means “At Risk for Autism”. I’ve never had any experience with anyone with Autism, so I was a little naive as to the lingo that was used.

I went on to have his hearing checked. Passed with flying colors. Hurray!

One day in July, I was watching a program on TV and the topic was Autism. I didn’t think much of it, as I was beetling around the living room cleaning as the kids were napping.

Then it happened.

They started listing the signs and symptoms of Autism that you should look for … my jaw dropped and I KNEW, that is what has caused Zane’s speech delay. It described him to a “T”.

After feeling so thankful for finally figuring out why, it quickly changed to anguish. I ran to the bathroom and had to spend a few minutes over the toilet as the only thing I could manage to do was cry and dry heave. My heart broke as it has never broke before. I didn’t need a doctor to confirm it. I KNEW this was it.

It took me about a week to accept it. I cried and cried and cried.

And then, after countless prayers and tears and pleading to God for the strength to get through this, I felt a power within to fight.

I turned into a super internet searching machine momma!! Everything and anything, bring it!! I finally felt like THIS was my job to do here. I can handle this, I can DO something about this and make a difference in my son’s life and hopefully many others.

After much research, and countless phone calls, emails and doctors appointments, I was able to have Zane officially diagnosed with ASD just a few months later. I decided to go the private route, as the waitlist is to go through the public system was at least a year wait.

Zane started his Speech Therapy in September of 2011 and ABA Therapy in January 2012.

For a child diagnosed with ASD, an ideal therapy program can range from 25-40 hours of intervention a week, depending on the child. This can cost anywhere from about $40,000-$60,000 and upwards per year. In British Columbia, the government assists by giving $22,000 per year towards the child’s treatments and some materials until the age of 6, which then drops to $6,000 per year.

Even if you aren’t awesome at doing math, it’s not hard to see that there are many more funds that are needed to fulfill an ideal program! I am dedicated to ensuring that Zane receives the help he needs to grow and learn to his fullest potential. This is key for every child who receives an ASD diagnosis. The earlier the better!

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We are just about at the 2.5 year mark since Zane started his ABA Therapy. With an amazing and dedicated Behaviour Consultant, Program Supervisor and a strong group of Behaviour Interventionists, Zane has grown leaps and bounds. He is now somewhat verbal, is able to look people in the eye and communicate with those around him. We still have a long road ahead of us, but I say, “Sky’s the Limit!”

I hope you find our site helpful. If you have a story to share or some helpful links or tips in the world of ASD, we would love to hear from you! Get in Touch!

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