Michael received a diagnosis of autism when he was seven years old, with a verbal comprehension score in the 96th percentile. His vocabulary was excellent, yet he was unable to engage in back-and-forth conversation with peers.
Michael started at KGH a few months into middle school. He had difficulty getting into the routine of sixth grade. For more than half of his day, Michael attended special education life skills classes. He attended specials in regular education.
His parents reported that Michael wasn’t making any friends. He expressed that he wanted to have friends, but didn’t understand why no one liked him. Additionally, his parents were becoming concerned about two things. The first, the calls from school indicating his “inappropriate” talking was becoming an issue. Also, they were very concerned about his lack of understanding of his body and puberty.
Treatment started with a KGH Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) going to the school to directly observe Michael’s day and talk with his IEP team. A KGH Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) met with Michael’s mom and dad each week to provide mental health support—and to help prepare them for parenting a child with autism through puberty.
Michael initially received 12 hours per week of focused ABA therapy. This addressed age-appropriate use and understanding of social cognition and social pragmatic skills. This therapy helped Michael to improve his executive functioning skills and to increase his self-awareness about puberty.
Each week, Michael received occupational therapy to address sensory issues identified with body awareness and speech therapy to address social pragmatic language skills.
After three months of therapy, Michael was ready to join our social groups, Think Social and After School Hangout, for middle school kids. By the end of sixth grade, Michael was doing much better in school, starting to develop friends and sitting with others during lunchtime.
At the start of seventh grade, his IEP team decided to increase his time in regular education gradually to more than half the day. By the end of seventh grade, Michael was in regular education with resources and a case manager.
Currently, Michael receives ABA therapy for six hours each week, addressing skills for our Middle School Program, and one hour of LCSW time each week to support his mental health.
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