Autism Success Stories

For parents of children with autism, success stories may the things parents take for granted with children who don't have autism. I've had parents who were thrilled when their child learned how to sit in a chair, or point to an item they wanted, or speaking their first words.

Ultimately, every child has their own success. Some may be more dramatic than others, but every milestone is important. For the parents I work with, every little thing can be a big deal in their lives.

Here are some of the success stories I've been involved with. I would love to hear yours as well.

Success Story #1: Entering Kindergarten

Recently I ran into a family whose boy I had worked with for a year and a half (as part of an ABA therapy team), and other therapists have been working with him since then. We started when he was two. When I first met him he has a home program of 20-25 hours of ABA a week. He had no expressive or receptive use of language and minor behavioral problems (largely because he didn't know what was expected of him). He would swipe things off tables, cry and scream sometimes. He also had transition issues when we moved from working at a table, to working on the floor. There were also no age appropriate play skills.

I worked with him on a one-to-one ratio using highly motivated reinforcement helped decrease his frustration levels. We would use food or hand toys to help motivate him to learn. We also used errorless teaching methods to help make him more successful. (The more success they have the less frustrated they are.)

Within a month he started following simple directions and making sounds. Within six months he was able to label pictures using expressive language. He had a vocabulary of probably twenty words, had developed some age appropriate fine motor skills including puzzles, beads, shapes, orders, etc.

Within nine months he started using a few two word phrases, like "Help me," or "Open this." He was able to show a little pretend play skills. He could identify his body parts receptively, and follow two step directions. He was expanding on his pretend play and he was able to transition more appropriately between tasks.

By a year and a half he was able to use three-word phrases, he was potty trained. He was able to play more appropriately with his brother, and his transition issues and behavioral problems were minimal.

So here's the exciting part. I ran into his family recently. It's been two and a half years since I have seen them. This child was able to hold a typical conversation with me! He is now going into kindergarten with a shadow and won't need one in first grade. He was awesome. I was so proud of him and his family for keeping the therapy going.

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