Autism Parenting

The Benefits of ABA Therapy: Happy Anniversary

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,

“Whaaahaat?”

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!

Dressing

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.

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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!

Motor Skills

That’s 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!

Final Thoughts

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!

-Anna MV

ABA Therapy

Anna MV

A Hmong woman practicing life finding art in everything. Blogger of Family, Life, Culture, Autism, Self Awarenes

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39 Comments

  1. I had no idea that you are supposed to give something a year when you try something new. Now I feel like I have to go back and start trying new things again and give them more time before I quit, lol. Also, congrats on the progress Kyson has made with ABA therapy!

    1. LOL, a year does seem long but it actually goes by so quick. The whole sticking to something for a year was just something I’ve heard a long time ago. Not sure if that is still the standard. Thanks for reading and the kind words!

  2. I’m so glad this has been working! I’ve never given any new thing a year. Maybe I should start.

    1. Thanks for reading Stacie!

  3. It is great the the ABA therapy is working. I’ve never heard of it before, will definitely look it up now. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Chad
    http://www.mosaicslab.com

    1. I appreciate you reading this, Thanks Chad!

  4. incalexandra says:

    So happy to hear that the ABA therapy is working. I was not aware of this before. I learnt something today!

    1. I’m glad you did 😊 thanks for reading!

  5. I am so happy for you and your family that it has been working out. What a incredible journey you have been on. Blessings to you and yours!

    1. Thanks so much Catherine!

  6. Gervin Khan says:

    I am so happy that Kyson have a great improvement with ABA therapy. I really learn something by reading this article and hope you Kyson will go better and better everyday.

    1. Thank you Gervin, I’m hopeful!

  7. congratulations on the progress! I’ve never heard of ABA therapy before and this was a very insightful/interesting read to me. Thank you for sharing your family’s journey 🙂

    1. You’re welcome Annick, thanks for reading 😊

  8. Catherine Santiago Jose says:

    First time to hear about ABA therapy and after reading this article I am able to understand everything about it. I am glad that you and your kid are doing well on this therapy and yes, I agree that patient is a must in this kind of situation.

  9. Joanna says:

    I have heard before about ABA therapy and what amazing progress children can do when they follow it. It’s so amazing that you son developed so much in a year because of the ABA.

  10. I’ve not heard of ABA therapy before but i’m so glad to hear it’s working for you! What a difference a year can make. You must be so proud, and just moving away from the ear defenders to block out loud noises is a huge step. Well done Kyson!

    1. Yes, so proud of him, thanks for reading Annette!

  11. I don’t have kids of my own and I’m not aware of any family members who have autism, so learning about ABA therapy from your post was something completely new for me. I appreciate you sharing this experience on your blog, and I’m so glad you found something that works for you and your family!

    1. There’s a lot of options, but glad we stuck to it. Thanks for reading Elaine.

  12. I never heard of this therapy before but now i do and I also it works. Super pleasing!

  13. Sydney | A World in Reach says:

    I’m not familiar with ABA therapy but it’s so good to hear that it’s working for you and your son! Thank you for sharing your experience – I’ll pass it on to a few friends who might find this helpful for their families!

    1. Thanks Sydney!

  14. Deanna says:

    Wow! Seems like amazing progress is being made with ABA therapy. The everyday things that some of us take for granted is not the case for everyone. I’m happy for you that it is working out.

    1. Thanks Deanna 😊

  15. I’m so happy to read how well this is working for you guys! my son has a speech delay (3) and he’s been in speech therapy since summer, so this gives me hope as he’s doing well!

    1. Great to hear Jasmine. My son has a speech therapist too. It has been very helpful. Thanks for reading 😊

  16. Glad you are sharing the ABA therapy here and good to know that there are progress made throughout these period. As long as they are result of improvement, that is matter.

    1. Thank you 😊

  17. I’m so glad that the ABA therapy is working and he is making good progress. You must be so proud of him.

    1. I am and thank you for your kind words!

  18. That is amazing! I have a friend who might benefit of hearing about ABA therapy for her own son, will send her the article xo

    1. Great, I hope it helps her. Thanks for sharing Em!

  19. I’ve read a little about ABA therapy. It’s good to hear your son has benefited so well from it. Wishing you and your family the best

    1. Thank you Misty!

  20. This is very encouraging. Congratulations on getting this far, keep it up.

    1. Thanks Stacey!

  21. Oh my! So much improvements! You must be so proud of Kyson! I am glad you are sharing this with us, because Kyson’s evolution could be encouraging for many other families!

    1. Yes, so very proud of him. Thanks Nati!

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