Summer Success Story
Our son was diagnosed with autism a month shy of his 3rd birthday (2007). He was experiencing challenges in social settings, specifically peer interactions and classroom readiness skills (sitting, raising his hand, self control, etc.) We had reviewed different treatment programs and based on the scientific evidence, we felt Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) would be the most effective treatment for our son. A friend and colleague referred us to Autism Partnership to provide consultative and supervisory support to our home based ABA program.
We do not live in California, so a consultant from Autism Partnership started quarterly visits (which are now monthly) to our home. We have a local team of student therapists and others with ABA experience working with our son on a daily basis.
While we started to see significant improvement at home, we wanted to see more change occur in the school setting (our son wasn’t socializing with other kids his age: he preferred to play by himself and seemed far from classroom ready ). Autism Partnership suggested we participate in their Summer Program because the emphasis was on social skills training, (e.g. play groups which were age and goal specific), play dates and 1:1 ABA sessions. For us – and most families – this meant a big commitment: a summer away from home. However, the opportunity for our son to make significant and sustainable progress was too important to ignore. .
Summer Program (June, 2009)
After sorting through several vacation rentals near the beach (we wanted the true California experience), we were ready to participate in the Program. Even our dog joined us for the trip!
Within the first week of the Summer Program Autism Partnership staff were able to determine our son’s strength’s and weaknesses and create a full program that was well tailored to his needs. The therapists were so professional and knowledgeable that our son benefited from treatment the moment he set foot in the office. Even better, we were able to sit in on all the sessions and learn from the experts. We were able to provide feedback and suggestions and felt like our voice was being heard.
We noticed there were different social skills groups in order to create a good fit for each child. From STARS (our son’s group) which focused on “learning how to learn” skills as well as play and social skills, to iCLUB, which was specifically for teenagers. We saw that each group worked on entirely different skill sets and felt our son was put into the perfect group to meet his needs.
As our son’s Program got underway, we observed the consistency of his treatment and the ABA methodology. Despite our son having different therapists throughout the day, the treatment was delivered in a consistent manner, creating a familiar experience for our son and producing the desired goals.
Clinic Based Program
One of the best features of Autism Partnership’s Summer Program is the fact that it is clinic based. Many of the clinic based programs in our home town felt very institutional; whereas, Autism Partnership’s office felt like a large home and was warm and inviting. Furthermore, by having sessions occur at the office, my son was able to have impromptu play dates with other children who were there.
Each day of the Summer Program was well thought out and planned. Within the first few weeks we noticed that our son was sitting well and had better self control. Improvements within a group setting took a little longer; but we noticed a big difference toward the end of the program (about 6-8 weeks).
We have already started the process of planning our stay for Summer 2010. Our son has not only learned new skills but he actually enjoyed himself and said he can’t wait to come back!