Revisitng ABA

Did I ever mention how we're tried just about every therapy out there?  ABA, RDI, OT, CBT, Speech, Beyond Consequences -- you name it, we've tried it.  Yes, we're THAT desperate.

Did I mention we were also utter failures at just about every one?  I was just ready to give up and commit myself to the funny farm when we were awarded a grant to do some behavioral therapy with Big Brother.  Not one to waste an opportunity, I enlisted the help of the autism treatment center where he did his summer camp and after-school program.

We really liked the counselors there.  They seemed to get my boy on a level that I had not seen before.  When he melted down they didn't get angry.  They weren't afraid.  They weren't phased in the least.  They were calm and collected.  And they were good.

They also happen to be cool.  Young men and women who are into snowboarding and mountain biking, who own all the latest gadgets like iPhones and iPads.

Big Brother was impressed.  And this is no small feat -- and no big surprise.  The poor kid has been to so many therapies, he could see a professional coming a mile away and usually have a few choice words for them en route.

That's why I was a little on edge when I told him we were going to be doing some in-home behavior work. At first he wasn't exactly thrilled with the prospect, but as soon as I told him who would be coming over he lightened up.  He's a hip young guy who happens to really know his stuff.  And Big Brother just happens to really like him.

We've been doing this for three weeks now, and.he actually looks forward to these visits.  He gets out of the house and away from the family -- a big plus for an adolescent boy.  And I'm amazed at what this behavioralist is able to get my boy to do.

This week he presented the beginnings of our behavior plan.  It includes contracts and a token economy.  Now let me say, these are not new elements to us.  We've been down this road many times and always landed squarely at a dead end.

So what makes this time different?  While it has all the elements of previous plans, it has the customization and planning that were lacking in the past.  Another big difference is that instead of forcing compliance, our Behavior Guy has gotten my son's buy-in on it every step of the way.  He actually designed the plan and the rewards.

We've been at it only a couple of days, but early indications are positive.  Only time will tell if this plan will net real change, but we're at least hopeful.  I will be posting more details about it as we go on in hopes it might help others out there.  In the meantime, I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

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