Seven-year-old Riley Salz of Encino, California, is an example of how intensive applied behavior analysis (ABA) helps improve quality of life for individuals with autism; his family shares its personal journey through Center for Autism and Related Disorders “Mission Possible: Portraits of Hope.”
Seven-year-old Riley Salz of Encino, California, is on the road to recovery from autism. He receives 40 hours a week of applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy (home services and school shadowing) from the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD). Riley has been in treatment with CARD since August, 2008, and has experienced remarkable progress, including learning to speak, starting conversations, making requests, and commenting about his environment. Riley’s personal journey through autism is now featured in CARD’s “Mission Possible: Portraits of Hope” online series at http://portraits-of-hope.centerforautism.com.
When Riley was approximately 9-12 months old, he would not point or interact and he did not speak. As he grew, challenging behaviors, such as excessive tantrums, increased. “You know, you go to the pediatrician and they tell you that sometimes boys are slow or that things might take a while to come along,” says his mother Monica Genewich. “But it was still not happening and right when he hit the 2-year-old mark, the wheels fell off the wagon. That’s when I got some help.”
Riley’s family tried several autism treatment programs before finding CARD. “When we first began treatment with CARD, they said, ‘Let’s start off having Riley learn to sit down for two seconds,’” says Monica.
CARD is considered one of the world’s most effective providers of evidence-based, state-of-the-art autism treatment services. CARD provides a variety of services using the evidence-based principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA). Services include center-based treatment, home-based services and supervision, parent training, and school shadowing.
“CARD has a way of approaching every single problem you’re going through and really address the issues. When Riley began treatment with CARD, we immediately saw a difference, even with data keeping,” says Monica.
The comprehensive CARD model of treatment includes over 3,500 lessons in eight areas of learning: academic, adaptive, cognition, executive function, language, motor, play, and social skills. In addition, the CARD model’s relationship-building, cognitive, and executive-functioning programs are known throughout the world for their focus on developing advanced skills, such as perspective taking (i.e., inferring others’ thoughts and feelings) and developing and maintaining friendships.
CARD has also developed and utilizes technology to increase access to autism treatment. Skills®, the online autism solution, was developed by CARD and is based on over 30 years of research on child development. CARD supervisors and therapists use the Skills® program to assess a child’s strengths and weaknesses, design a treatment plan, and track progress through integrated reports, graphs, and timelines.
In August, 2009, CARD researchers published “Retrospective Analysis of Clinical Records in 38 Cases of Recovery from Autism” in the highly-regarded Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, showing that recovery from autism is possible.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in 88 children in America is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), making autism more prevalent than juvenile diabetes, pediatric cancer, and pediatric AIDS combined.
“If you think something is wrong, it’s not about you. Don’t bury your head in the sand,” says Monica. “Go get help because the help is out there to make your child’s life so much better.”
About Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD):
CARD treats individuals of all ages who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) with 24 treatment centers around the globe and a staff of over 1,000. CARD was founded in 1990 by leading autism expert and clinical psychologist Doreen Granpeesheh, PhD, BCBA-D. CARD treats individuals with ASD using the principles and procedures of applied behavior analysis (ABA), which has been empirically proven to be the most effective method for treating individuals with ASD and is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the US Surgeon General.