Felt and I attended a one day workshop on the ABC's of ABA (applied behavioral analysis) yesterday in Austin. Although I had to do a lot of nagging to get Felt to go, I think he enjoyed it. There were other parents there as well as teachers and therapists. ABA has been around for more than 40 years and started with B.F. Skinner. It is a way to teach children with Autism through working on there behaviors. Kelle Wood-Rich was the presenter and she was really good. She started out in the Dallas area and moved her practice to Austin. She discussed the antecedent-behavior-consequence. It allowed Felt and I to look at Andrew's behaviors- crying, hand flapping, etc. and realize that we are giving him positive reinforcement for negative behaviors, which tells him to keep doing it. Felt was really able to absorb a lot of the terminology and was able to talk to another dad. I think this was the first time he had talked with another parent of a child on the spectrum. It allowed us to think about the future- what we wanted in terms of therapy, schools, treatments, etc. We were a bit disappointed when Kelle, the presenter, said she wouldn't consider the kids that made progress recovered because it gives false hope to parents and that there is no cure for Autism. We know there is no cure, but how about giving some hope? I always knew that 20 hours a week of ABA is recommended for these kids but it was frustrating for us to hear, because who the heck can afford that at 100 dollars an hour? Maybe Jenny McCarthy but not us. Let's hope we hit the lotto soon!
We are a family of five living in San Antonio, TX. Our son Andrew was diagnosed at 20 months with Autism. We knew that something was still not right about his diagnosis. After many doctors appointments with specialists and geneticists he received a diagnosis of Rett Sydnrome in November 2008. He continues to struggle daily with communication, swallowing, using his hands and with breathing. We really feel blessed with every day we are given and we are learning to love and live with life's many challenges.