Could There Be a Cure for Autism?

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — One in 88 children in the United States will be diagnosed with some form of autism.

Studies also show that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls.

Discovering that your child has an autism spectrum disorder can be an overwhelming experience, but a local therapy center has proven results.

Here now is one local boy, who was diagnosed with autism and is now recovered.

Ethan was 2 years old when his parents noticed something was off.

“He did a lot of repetitive actions. Very strange behaviors like lining up things, always like three,” said mother Rebecca Ishida.

“And then if you touched any of his trains his eruptions were crazy. These tantrums were out of control,” she said.

Ethan’s parents took intensive action. After working with several different agencies, they found the center for autism related disorders or “CARD” in Tarzana.

There, Ethan went through 40 to 40 hours a week of intensive applied behavior analysis or “ABA.”

“It’s intensive one-on-one teaching when what we do is a comprehensive assessment of exactly what skills are delayed, and we teach those skills really intensively,” explained Jonathan Tarbox, PhD.

“Lots of practice and lots of positive reinforcement,” he said.

The nearly 40 hours a week went on for four years. The therapist Ethan worked with was certain he would recover.

“She made a prediction. She made a prediction in that meeting. She said in four years, Ethan will be cured basically. Almost to the day,” said Wes Gorin, Ethan’s father.

But it was a harrowing ordeal.

“It’s a fight the whole time. Every penny. I mean, we lost our house treating this, you know?” Gorin revealed.

And though they lost their home, they gained their child back.

Ethan is now 10 and has lost his diagnosis of autism, all because of receiving ABA therapy.

Ethan had just got his report card back on the day that we sat down with him.

“I got very good scores and I ace’d most of my test, tests,” he said. “My teacher said that I worked to my full potential and that’s good.”

“It feels like a miracle , it looks like a miracle but its been happening for a few decades now,” Dr. Tarbox remarked.

For 20 years, CARD has helped thousands of children recover from autism..

But only 10 percent of children diagnosed with autism get the top quality ABA therapy that Ethan did.

“The sad reality is that in many regions in the United States, ABA is still inaccessible except to the middle and upper class,” Dr. Tarbox explained.

“You could be looking at $50-100,000 a year for three or four years,” he said.

Ethan is now just a typical kid, living without autism.

“It’s so worth it to see him smiling and having friends and playing basketball and just doing typical things,” his dad said.

He’s a kid in L.A. with typical L.A. dreams.

“I want to be an actor. I want to… if that doesn’t work out, maybe I could be, I could be, I don’t know…” Ethan says.