Barret's Fight Against Autism

A blog about ABA therapy, fighting autism, and supporting those who are facing it. Plus some recipes, funny stories and cute pictures of Bear!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

ABA Therapy too Expensive? I don't think so.

To me, there is nothing that overflows my heart like seeing Barret process information effectively. Those of you with challenged kids can relate. It's funny how tiny improvements can feel like a mountain has been moved.

Barret's latest progress: He can now tell you his address, phone number, birthday and who all lives in his house. These took forever for him to learn and he's so proud! You can see how the therapy has been working, not only when he answers correctly, but how he gets really excited after he answers and expects you to celebrate with him! This isn't only a social breakthrough, but his self-esteem makes a huge difference. It also lets me know that he's being treated well in therapy.

I would also like to take a moment to brag on The Riley Center where Barret attends therapy. They are INCREDIBLY upbeat and optimistic. They care so much about these kids. When I show up early to get him, I can hear them telling Barret how much they love him, how proud they are of him, wrestling with him or tickling him. They are always playing with him and talking to him like I do and he absolutely loves it. If they weren't like that, then therapy would be such a chore. Four hours straight of one on one therapy every day, I can't imagine.

The Riley Center also trains parents on how to apply the methods at home. You have a team of expert brains to pick every day, which is invaluable. If you have considered ABA therapy and found it too expensive, consider taking out a loan or asking businesses for donations. Even if you can't afford to keep your child in, you could learn how to effectively teach them at home and your child can learn the method in just a month or two. One lady at The Riley Center last year paid for every month of her son's therapy with donations from local businesses!

Now, not many parents have four hours a day to work directly with their child, and most autistic kids are pretty smart and will play Mom like a banjo, so therapy for most may be the only option. My son never let me teach him a thing. BUT, now that he has learned the system, I can use it on him and get results on my own. This is a huge breakthrough!

My advice to lost parents of autistic kids, get them in that therapy ASAP. We have had zero progress for 2 years in the public school Head Start program. In just five months of ABA, Barret has learned upper and lower case letters and their sounds, he recognizes numbers 1-20, all colors, shapes and body parts, can answer about 30 social questions, can cut out anything, color within the lines, sort anything, do a 25 piece puzzle he's never seen in about 5 minutes, name 32 body parts, dress and undress himself, name 25 family members, and he's just about potty trained. There is a lot more that would just take me all day to type.

They work on whatever you want them to, for example, Barret is in food therapy there because he won't eat hardly anything. Nothing there is ever forced and there is never punishment.

Before therapy Barret would hide under the bed all day, never speak, stare at lights, never make eye contact, spin wheels on cars all day, bolt from me in parking lots, never follow directions, never respond to his name, he couldn't even put a shape in a shape sorter, hold a crayon or scissors. He has grown by leaps and bounds and I KNOW I couldn't have done it on my own!

Huntsville is lucky to have The Riley Center, which costs about $2,000/month. Most cities either don't have programs like this, where there are lots of therapists that work together with your child, or they cost a lot more, like $6,000-$10,000/month. We consider this school that he needs to succeed. If it were college, we'd find a way to pay for it. So, we're finding a way to pay for it. Consider it early college. Pay for therapy now and hopefully you'll have to go more in debt to pay for college later. I can't stress enough how it has changed our outlook and Barret's life.

If you want to help Barret, you can donate here. We also welcome well wishes and prayers!













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