Alanna has had four months of ABA and has been doing more intensive ABA (IBI) at 20 hours a week for approximately two weeks now.
What a difference four months of therapy makes!
Four months ago, she communicated her desires by screaming, pulling, reaching and occasionally hitting her head on the floor. Now, she exchanges pictures for desired items and occasionally vocalizes for desired items! The screaming and frustration has stopped completely.
Four months ago, Alanna would never look at us or respond to her name. She engaged in self-stimulatory behaviours ("stims") like bouncing on furniture and running aimlessly around the room. Now, she gives us good eye contact, responds to her name more often, and prefers to "stim" with one of us (i.e., play games where she can run around or bounce) rather than by herself.
Four months ago, Alanna wouldn't look at objects (track them with her eyes), play with a puzzle (she would throw the pieces), play with a shape sorter (she would throw the pieces and run off), follow any simple commands (come here, sit down, stand up), or perform any imitation of any kind. She couldn't match letters, colours or objects or do any task that required her to understand matching things together. She could not throw or catch a ball, or put on her shoes. Now she can do all of these things (she is still working on the shoes but can do most steps independently). Her imitation is improving every day and she is learning to vocalize by asking for things she really wants (think muffins!)
Alanna has a long way to go. She is engaging in parallel play with her brother and friends at daycare, but still has a lot of trouble socializing, communicating and avoiding repetitive behaviour. But wow, has she ever come a long way. I can't wait to see where she'll be in another four months.