Ben came into our program with two words: “Elmo” and “no.”
He did not engage with other children. He preferred to be by himself, repetitively playing with wood trains, lining them up over and over.
He also spent his time hiding under the couch or between the couch cushions. Ben walked on his toes, did not imitate any words or actions, and did not engage with his parents in any reciprocal games.
Ben’s parents reported that they felt very frustrated. Wherever they went, he would find doors or sliding glass doors and open and close them, over and over. He would have a meltdown if they moved him away from the doors.
They hated walking out of any store because Ben would scream and strangers would stare. Eventually, one parent would stay home while the other parent ran errands—which strained their marriage.
Ben began an individualized, comprehensive, developmentally appropriate ABA therapy program for 30 hours a week. He also received speech therapy for 3 hours each week to help with oral motor issues. In addition, he received occupational therapy for 2 hours per week to address toe-walking and sensory processing issues.
Within weeks, Ben began to learn how to imitate, which is the foundation of natural learning. This allowed him to learn and use new, meaningful words. He increased his ability to play with toys in a fun and functional way.
To help generalize his new skills, Ben’s therapy expanded from the center to include his home and community—especially places with lots of doors. He successfully completed our therapeutic preschool, which helped him to prepare him for typical kindergarten.
During that transition, he spent mornings at regular kindergarten and afternoons with us, receiving ABA therapy and social group practice. After he started regular first grade, the teacher reported that he was doing so well that Ben graduated to periodic consultations.
He now attends regular seventh grade. When asked “What is your favorite thing to do?” He answered, “Hang out with my friends.”
Ben’s parents are beyond grateful for all the progress their son has made. On Saturdays, they love going to Starbucks and running errands—as a family.
After his graduation, Ben’s mother sent this email:
I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done for [Ben].
I remember when we first met you at the free screening meeting, you were so knowledgeable and so calm with our son, my husband and I.
You and your team have been so amazing to us and I will always be thankful to you all. I know if anything comes up, you guys are just a call away. [Ben] will miss [his therapy team.] He had a lot of fun at the KGH graduation yesterday!
-unsolicited email from Ben’s mom
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