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HEALTH WATCH: Autism statistics

Updated: Thursday, August 8 2013, 12:49 PM CDT
The latest Autism statistics are staggering.
One in 88 children -- and one in 54 boys will be diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

One local young man recently began an emerging kind of therapy for children on the spectrum.
   
It's called ABA, Applied Behavior Analysis.
When Max was two -- he was diagnosed with severe Autism.

(("If you can imagine how frustrating it must be to live in a world where you don't have the ability to express how you feel or to tell people what it is you might need."))

Until very recently -- Max would mostly echo words he heard.  He had very little language and no spontaneous speech. 

In April -- Max began intensive sessions with Therapist Jarod Keremes.
Six hours a week -- Max works on pro social ways to request items not just label things.

(("It's one thing to know what something is, it's something completely different to know I can have it when I need it."))

Max's mom Jennifer Findley says that skill alone has changed their family dynamic.
(("He became very happy, the tantrums pretty much vanished."))

Max has added dozens of words to his vocabulary.
He had a breakthrough while we were there.

(("Today, while he was upstairs he asked to take Buzz outside."))
Before Max began ABA therapy -- he had trouble engaging or struggled with screaming fits when frustrated.

Behavior that often invited unwanted advice and questions.
(("At the store before and people will say, why can't you control your child.  Oh makes me crazy."))

Findley says what does help a person with Aufism is to talk and communicate directly with them, to not ignore talk over, or about them.

(("Drives me crazy when people talk around him because he's so perceptive."))
(("Max is a  fun kid.  The things he likes, he really likes."))

Jarod says people with Autism often have amazing abilities like hyperfocus and memorization.
Max has excellent visualization and analytical skills.  Both have helped him make tremendous strides.

(("Max did all the hard work.  I just showed him how."))
Findley says she hopes others will now see how smart, joyful and loving Max is.  That he is much more than a diagnosis.

(("My son has made us see the world in a whole different way."))
The Sacred Heart Autism Center also offers parent empowerment classes where they teach family members ABA Therapy techniques.

For more information on the program or to see other Health Watch stories, head over to our website weartv.com and click on the Health tab. You'll find that at the top of the page.HEALTH WATCH: Autism statistics


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