Wednesday, May 9, 2012

ABA Therapy

Aba therapy (Applied Behavioral Analysis) is a term many have heard but do not understand. When our son was diagnosed with autism we had friends who said that aba was the best thing they did for their autistic children. I had my doubts, but decided to give it a try.

Unfortunately, many people do not have the luxury of utilizing this service for their children. Many insurance companies will  cover speech and occupational therapy, but not aba. Here is a great website that gives information on opportunities for scholarships and other ways to fund programs for people on the autism spectrum.

We went through a few therapists before we found the right one. Please do not give up on aba therapy if you do not think the therapist is a good fit for your child. Also, don't be afraid to speak up and find the therapist that works! We went through two before we found the right one. The first one seemed to play more than anything else and we didn't feel our son was getting anything from it. The second one seemed to enjoy pushing our son's buttons just to try to "solve" his tantrums. I did not like that at all. Finally, we found someone who was a mix of both of the previous therapists. She pushed Rhys just far enough so he would learn. He didn't always like it, but it was good for him.

He started when he was three years old (1 and a half years ago). The improvement was AMAZING. He was saying, at most, five words when we started. Within six months his vocabulary was flourishing! Our friends had mentioned the same type of improvement, but I thought it was too good to be true. To my amazement, that was just the beginning. He is now in preschool and knows more than some of his peers. He talks non stop and is just so smart. He was always smart... we just had to get it out of him.

ABA therapy may not be for everyone, but I am definitely glad we gave it a try. I encourage everyone to learn more about it and see if it may be right for your family.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What's your Problem?

I saw this picture and all I could think was "problem?"

I can't speak for anyone else, but I do not see autism as a problem. Sure, it creates obstacles and challenges that most others won't face in the same way, but it is not a problem. When I found out my son was diagnosed with autism I did not think to myself, " oh no, not another problem." In fact, it didn't change much in our home. My husband and I were determined to educate ourselves about autism, but that was about the only change that occurred. In a lot of ways I love that my baby is autistic. Please don't take that the wrong way. I would never wish the challenges he will go through in life on anyone. That being said, I love all of the unique qualities that autism brings out in him that make him the wonderful child he is. He listens better than our other children and stays out of trouble more often. He can entertain himself and says the cutest things. He is my youngest child and has "grown up" at a slower pace allowing me to enjoy every step a little longer. In so many ways autism has been a blessing. I hope that we as a whole can work together to prevent, or find a cure, for autism in the future for all children and adults. For now, when there's nothing we can do but embrace it, that's exactly what I am going to do as a mother.