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Interview with Kacy Tedder, February 24, 2016

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:33 - Seeking Diagnosis

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Partial Transcript: My name's Kacy Allen Tedder, and I go by Kacy.

Segment Synopsis: Tedder speaks briefly about her educational and personal history. She also discusses the early signs of autism that she observed in her son Josiah, including speech delay and a fascination with organization. Tedder explains her difficulties in accessing autism and behavioral specialists in the medical and educational worlds.

Keywords: Babies Cant' Wait; Marcus Autism Center

00:09:05 - Josiah's diagnosis / Financial and legal struggles

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Partial Transcript: What were some of your emotions like when you found out about his diagnosis, and how did you cope with learning that?

Segment Synopsis: Tedder talks about grieving and being frustrated by her son's diagnosis and mentions working an extra job to pay for his therapy programs. She also describes advocating for her son's rights at welfare and insurance offices.

Keywords: Ava's Law; Katie Beckett Deeming Waiver; advocacy; cost; finances; government; insurance; law; welfare

00:15:11 - Juggling Josiah and Asher / Josiah's skills

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Partial Transcript: What was that like- having a newborn to take care of a the same time that you were trying to care for Josiah?

Segment Synopsis: Tedder describes her relationships with each of her children, as well as Josiah and Asher's relationship with each other, and she talks about Josiah's experiences in children's church programs and the Clarke County School System. Tedder also mentions some of Josiah's interests, including math, piano, computer coding, reading biographies, and memorizing presidents and maps.

Keywords: children; family; hobbies; interests; school subjects

00:22:53 - Progress through therapy

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Partial Transcript: You mentioned that Josiah doesn't know, or he's not aware that he has a disability.

Segment Synopsis: Tedder discusses the progress Josiah has made with regard to peer interaction, communication, and developing gross motor skills. She attributes this progress to early engagement in speech and occupational therapy programs.

Keywords: OT; motor skills; speech

00:28:41 - Parenting a child with autism

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Partial Transcript: What have some of the challenges been parenting Josiah when he was younger and up until now?

Segment Synopsis: Tedder talks about varying reactions to her son's autism from the school system and her extended family, and she mentions special considerations she has to make with regard to his diet and social activities. Tedder also discusses how Josiah's autism has challenged her personally, but has ultimately helped her understand students who learn at different speeds and have behavioral problems. In addition, Tedder discusses her faith and Josiah's aspirations of going to Harvard and becoming a cardiologist.

Keywords: IEP; behavior; disability; family; school; teaching

00:41:58 - Support systems / Intervention

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Partial Transcript: When you were pregnant with Josiah did you and your husband ever discuss or think about the possibility of what a child with a disability would be like?

Segment Synopsis: Tedder talks about her relationships with her mother and her husband, as well as the importance of accepting autism diagnoses and beginning early intervention programs.

Keywords: diagnosis; family; husband; mother

00:48:56 - Josiah's activities / Stereotypes

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Partial Transcript: Is he involved in anything else at school?

Segment Synopsis: Tedder mentions Josiah's spectrum classes and his favorite activities, including boy scouts, art, coding, swimming, watching Thomas the Train and Star Wars, and making videos. In addition, she discusses stereotypes of the "autistic child," the progress Josiah has made, and the things he is curious about during this stage of his life.

Keywords: development; education; hobbies

00:57:48 - Advice for other parents

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Partial Transcript: What is it like going from having Josiah receive different therapy sessions and now having him sort of come out on the other side of it and excelling so much?

Segment Synopsis: Tedder gives advice to families facing autism, especially those in the difficult process of challenging insurance laws or doctors. Tedder also talks about going to graduate school and being involved in advocacy, and she describes her family's diet and religious practices.

Keywords: advocacy; diet; insurance; parenting; shots