4 years old
Transitioned Out of Treatment:
6 years old
"Bryce is progressing quite nicely. His growth in the last 12 months has been remarkable. He is certainly benefiting from his current behavioral services."- Bryce's school psychologist
Around his second birthday, Bryce's parents started to notice differences between him and his twin sister. Three months later, he was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder of moderate severity. Cognitive testing placed him within the mentally retarded range, although doctors pointed out this may not reflect innate ability, but rather should serve as a baseline against which to measure his response to intervention. Bryce's parents immediately began recommended services including an hour of speech-language therapy, an hour of occupational therapy, and an hour every other week of physical therapy. However, they felt a more intensive therapy was necessary, and their research indicated the effectiveness of early intervention utilizing Applied Behavior Analysis.
At two and a half years of age, Bryce began receiving therapy utilizing the UCLA Model of Applied Behavior Analysis. When starting therapy, he had a vocabulary of approximately 35-40 words. However, he did not consistently use his words, did not respond to questions and did not respond to basic instructions such as to get his shoes. He demonstrated interest in some play materials such as cars, balls, and a Magnadoodle, but his attention was limited and he only played with the toys for brief periods of time. He would not join in any structured play activities, but rather played in isolation, on his own terms. His parents stated that he would sometimes tantrum. Tantrums included crying, screaming, and hitting and biting others.
Bryce's skills steadily progressed through an intensive, Applied Behavior Analysis program. Within a year, he was able to imitate others, identify objects when asked, and spontaneously request for a wide variety of desires – all skills he demonstrated difficulty with before treatment. Because of his ability to imitate, he learned how to play with toys more appropriately and began to play with them for longer periods of time. ABA therapy continued for a total of four years during which time Bryce made significant gains in all skill areas including communication, socialization, play, and cognitive abilities. A psychologist unassociated with the Lovaas Institute periodically reevaluated Bryce. She noted his remarkable progress in achieving 1.5 to 2 years of developmental progress within a 1-year period of treatment.
During the second year of therapy, Bryce began to attend a typical preschool with the help of a 1:1 aide who was active in his home program. Learning in a group setting was still difficult for Bryce, and he continued to receive thirty hours of 1:1 intervention in his home ABA program. In the years that followed, Bryce was able to benefit from the school environment for longer periods of time, and home ABA therapy was gradually decreased. An instructor from home continued to attend school with him to help generalize the skills he learned at home into the school setting. The behavior consultant from the Lovaas Institute worked closely with the school personnel to help facilitate a smooth transition to the school environment.
Throughout Bryce's treatment, tantrum and protest behaviors continued to be an issue both in therapy and outside of therapy. The behavior consultant worked closely with Bryce's parents to help them identify underlying causes of Bryce's protest behaviors and to come up with strategies that worked for their family to help eliminate the tantrums. At one point, Bryce would request for an object, protest when it was given to him, and then protest again when the object was taken away. This form of protesting occurred frequently throughout the day and tantrums could last up to an hour. The behavior consultant from the Lovaas Institute gathered input from other professionals associated with the Lovaas Institute throughout the world before a special consultation was held with the parents and those who worked closely with Bryce.
Bryce now attends second grade in a regular education classroom without the support of an aide. He no longer tantrums, and he laughs at the little boy tantrumming on the screen when shown old video footage of his first few days in treatment. When his parents mention the names of past instructors, he always excitedly asks what they are doing now. He has his own group of friends that he invites to his house on occasion. Sometimes when his sister has friends over, he asks them to play with him. At other times, he simply likes to antagonize his sister. In summary, Bryce is a well-adjusted young boy who no longer shows signs of autism.