Happy 1 Year Anniversary! I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since Kyson started ABA therapy and the progress is completely amazing! I have no other words to explain how proud I am of his growth, his grit, and ambition. Prior to starting, I researched like “crazy” on how to help him. There was so much out there on the benefits and then there was the controversy too. I’m glad we stuck to it.
I once read somewhere that if you try something new, give it a year. By the end of the year, you see no progress then it’s time you take a new path and leave (that) story behind. Well, the year is here and we wanted to share our story. Again, please note that this progress is of my child. Please remember and take into consideration that every child is different, by that also learns differently. You never know unless you try.
This is our journey.
Prior to starting Kyson had one-word phrases. Only a good handful of words that he knew minus the alphabet, shapes, and numbers he was able to label. He wasn’t able to ask us for anything he wanted. He wasn’t able to put on clothes, there was a lot of sensory overload moments, and fear of public environments. Many times he would escape or have meltdowns due to certain sounds. He didn’t like crowds of people or unusual faces so he kept to himself a lot. There was no social engagement with peers his age.
From where we started, I think the most part I was concerned about was the gross and fine motor skills. He loves anything with wheels, but couldn’t maneuver bikes with his feet on the pedals. Holding a spoon was so uncomfortable for him, that he wouldn’t feed himself. I’m not so concerned anymore. One whole year, we made it!
We’re out celebrating the one year anniversary with a final walk on the usual path
Here are 4 benefits with ABA Therapy
Verbal Language Development
He now can ask for things he wants in a complete question.
“Mommy, can I go see Daddy please?”
Yes, that’s right, 7 words in a row! Yay! Did I mention he now knows the meaning of “no”? Yeah, not the best word for a 5-year old to know especially when you ask him to do something and he doesn’t want to. LOL! It’s bittersweet.
He never knew his name before nor would he answer to it. I can now be in my room and call out for him. Like a robot in his monotone voice, he will respond,
I can have small but an actual conversation with him. The best part is him being able to identify when he’s hungry and telling me that he is!
If his entire outfit is laid out for him. He can put every piece on. He still struggles a bit with the socks (mostly due to socks being ankle height) His little hands can’t manage the little ankle socks quite yet but crew cut works just fine.
Yes, we still lay out every piece of clothing article flat out so he can picture what to put on. If we told him to go get a new shirt, he most likely wouldn’t know where to find them. We’ve tested this before, I asked him to go put on pants and he comes out with a shirt on his waist. The shirt that was in the dirty laundry basket. (Wish I had a picture, so cute!)
Kyson worked on each clothing article for 2 weeks. He got frustrated many times, probably wondering why he had to constantly put on his socks when he wasn’t going anywhere.
Sensory and Unusual Environments
Kyson didn’t like getting his teeth brushed and would constantly bite down as we tried to brush for him. We opted for electronic toothbrush thinking we would get a better brush in. Oh boy, were we wrong! It was the buzzing that got to him. He shouted and screamed. He would throw himself to the ground and cry. It broke my heart to see him this way.
The same thing would happen when I cut his hair with the hair buzzer. I learned how to cut his hair with just scissors. We transitioned him slowly to this sound with headphones. We started with these Dr.Meter Noise Blocking Muffs. He wore them when he became a bit overwhelmed and I couldn’t figure out what noise was bothering him.
6 months went by and we no longer have to use them. During certain types of noise that Kyson can’t stand, he will simply cover his ears if he needs too. We now use the muffs on him when he goes to the farm to ride around on the tractors.
If you’ve been reading my past few blogs, you can see how much he has come. I now can go grocery shopping with him in a (public) setting and he will hang out right beside me. 7 months into ABA therapy we have gone out to eat at public restaurants twice! Huge Win! We now can slowly introduce him to large gathering events and parties but always ready to leave if we must. No more escaping or self-harm!
That’s the fine motor and gross motor skills.
Kyson can now hold a spoon and feed himself. He can hold markers or crayons to draw circles. The strength training of his little muscles in his hands with sensory toys and practice of lacing, puzzles, play-doh and building with legos have come a long way for him.
Although he was able to walk, run, jump very well, we still saw improvement and the benefits here on gross motor skills. Kyson who loves anything with wheels would rather push a trike vs. riding one. There was no coordination and having his feet to the pedal to make the trike go wasn’t his thing. Exactly 1 year into ABA therapy he’s pedaling! Yes, he will still jump off to push the bike. He likes watching the wheels turn BUT he’s pedaling! Yay!
ABA Therapy is not for everyone, but it is for us. The benefits we have gained from using this approach truly shows. Every day we learn how he learns and every day he continues to teach us a “new” meaning to life. Are there setbacks? Of course, but what is life without failures. You only grow from them and learn to move on. Kyson has taught me so much, to see the world through a different lens, approach things from every angle, and macro patience.
With patience and practice, I have come this far. With ambition and grit, he has come this far. I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m so excited to see where this Unusual Path of life takes us. To give him kisses and him being able to respond without prompt, saying, “I wuv you”, this means everything! Enjoy the process!