Autism Reality

The Cat in the Hat is 50 Today

The Cat in the Hat is 50 today and its brilliant creator Theodor Geisel, Dr. Seuss, would be 103 tomorrow, were he still with us. Conor, like so many other children, loves his Dr. Seuss books. Happy Birthday Cat! Thank you Dr. Seuss.

March 1, 2007 Posted by | autism, Conor, Dr. Seuss, learning, reading, The Cat in the Hat | 2 Comments

Conor is 11 Today!!!

Conor is 11 today!!

They have been 11 years of struggle, fear, despair, hope, fun and pure unmitigated joy.

February 19, 2007 Posted by | autism, birthday, cake, Conor, Dr. Seuss, Green Eggs and Ham, happy, joy | 2 Comments

I Can Read With My Eyes Shut by Conor (and Dr. Seuss)

I sat at the computer a few minutes ago, the first one up and awake in the house, when I heard Conor in the kitchen reading I Can Read With My Eyes Shut by Dr. Seuss. I have mentioned before Conor’s love of Dr. Seuss and his increasing ability to read and will probably do so again. For me it is remarkable that my soon to be 11 year old profoundly autistic son is able to,and wants to, read Dr. Seuss. He gets his Seuss books out and reads them on his own initiative with no prompting or cajoling. Conor’s reading skills were developed through structured Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) intervention. While The Cat in the Hat and I Can Read With My Eyes Shut may not be the reading fare of most 11 year olds, it represents once unthinkable progress for Conor. It didn’t happen without effort or without ABA. But Now Conor can enjoy the playful genius of Theodor Seuss Geisel, Dr. Seuss. And I can enjoy the sound of Conor reading aloud first thing in the morning.

February 11, 2007 Posted by | aba, Applied Behavior Analysis, autism, Dr. Seuss, learning, reading | Leave a comment

Conor, Autism and ABA from Apple to Seuss

Conor was 2 1/2 years old and had NO effective speech; as in NO words at all with which to communicate. When he wanted something he would simply scream until we figured out what he wanted and provided it. An apple, one of his favorite foods, was always a good guess. Then I attended a lecture by Paul McDonnell, a clinical psychologist working with autistic children and professor emeritus (psychology). Paul described ABA and showed data charts and strategies for extinguishing problem behavior, teaching positive behaviors and elements of speech. That evening at home I tried ABA with Conor for the first time. When he screamed I showed him an apple but did not give it to him right away. I held the apple and kept repeating the first syllable until Conor, some 45 minutes later, finally said “ap”. After an hour and a half Conor was able to say apple.

Since then Conor has received ABA intervention from a number of therapists, but not the 40 hours a week, between the ages of 2 and 5. Nonetheless his vocabulary and understanding of language today while still limited compared to others his age is light years ahead of where it was when we first worked with that apple. Above is a picture of Conor, with his mother, at the edge of the picture listening, while Conor reads aloud from the Cat in the Hat Comes Back by Dr. Seuss. (Dr. Seuss is his favorite writer by far).

Conor’s diagnosis is Autism Disorder. His pediatrician’s commentary describes him as profoundly autistic which he is. But ABA has helped him,and me, immeasurably. It has opened the world for him as language and reading does for all once acquired to any extent. And it has allowed me to communicate with my buddy. Both are priceless gifts. I thank Paul McDonnell for his many efforts on educating parents of autistic children in New Brunswick, the therapists that have worked with Conor and Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas for his incredible gift to autistic children and their parents.

February 5, 2007 Posted by | aba, autism, Conor, Dr. Seuss, Lovaas, speech, therapy | 1 Comment