Ever since Isabella was a baby, Mom thought there was something not quite right.
Isabella didn’t smile or hold eye contact with her mom when she talked to her. As a toddler, Isabella talked to objects more than she talked to people. By the time she was three Isabella’s communication skills were way behind her peers and she even was regressing and losing some of her vocabulary. Instead of her words, she used temper tantrums to communicate.
When Isabella started preschool, Mom was apprehensive about how she would do in a classroom setting. It wasn’t too long into the school year until the preschool teacher recommended to Mom that Isabella gets evaluated. Mom felt like she had been punched in the stomach. Evaluated? Her first reaction was to defend Isabella and deny the need for an evaluation. But after talking about it with her mom and her husband, they encouraged her to do the evaluation for Isabella’s sake. If the evaluation turned up nothing, there was no harm done, but maybe the evaluation could give them some helpful information.
With a quivering voice and shaky hands, Mom dialed the number for the psychologist and made the evaluation appointment. After several appointments of testing, the psychologist concluded that Isabella was on the autism spectrum. Mom cried at first, broken-hearted that Isabella had this struggle. But then the psychologist told Mom the diagnosis was a good thing because now they could work together to get a plan in place to give Isabella the tools she needed to make sense of the world and how to function in it.
The psychologist recommended that Mom look into Applied Behavioral Analysis or ABA.
Mom had never heard of ABA before. The psychologist explained that ABA was a method of teaching social skills, appropriate communication and behavior to a child using positive reinforcement.
The psychologist went on to explain why ABA was the best solution:
- There is more scientific evidence that ABA works for children with autism than any other method/intervention.
- It gives the child with autism specific goals to reach and trains him how to get there.
- It enables the child with autism to have friends.
- It pinpoints the child’s strengths and gives opportunities for the child to use them.
- It empowers parents to reach and teach their child in the most effective way. Did you ever wish your child was born holding an instruction manual? That’s what ABA can do: give an instruction manual of what works for your child.
- It gives hope. L., a mom who used ABA for her son with autism said, “[Before ABA] I remember only darkness, only fear. But as soon as I figured out how to teach him, the darkness lifted. It was thrilling. I couldn’t wait to get up each morning and teach him something new. It wasn’t work at all. It was a huge, huge relief.”
Isabella’s mom decided to try ABA.
Two years later she is glad she did. She knows strategies that work to teach Isabella something new. She sees progress in her social skills and communication skills. ABA has transported Mom from hopeless to hope-filled.
If you think ABA could help your child with autism, contact Discover Hope and find out more.
If you would like to work for Discover Hope and be part of the team to help children with autism win, we are looking for hardworking, compassionate, team players.