This is Mandy Mason. She is one of my autism heroes. Her daughter, Juliette, has severe regressive autism. She put together a 40-hour per week intervention for Juliette, much of the work done herself. Now she operates LEARN, an ABA-based intervention centre in Western Australia. She set this up herself. She taught her daughter, and then switched careers to run LEARN, which by all accounts appears to be very successful. Juliette appears to be doing very well. I first encountered her in the dark days when Becca and I first suspected Alanna has autism. We didn't know recovery was possible (although rare). Her video, showing all the progress Juliette has made, gave me so much hope for Alanna's future.
Juliette, I don't know you, but thank you for being an inspiration to parents, particularly those with girls who have autism. It gives me hope - even though I know Alanna's future, no matter what it is, is secure.
An update on Juliette from Mandy:
Juliette is now 5, in a mainstream school, she is an absolute pleasure to have in our lives and we continue to work with her intensively. I don't know if she'll ever be able to live independently - her deficits are still very much affecting her ability to interact with the world. She talks non-stop, she loves her sister, she seeks us out constantly, she reads, writes, loves drawing and painting - lots of things I never knew whether she'd be able to do. None of it would have been possible without the use of the principles of ABA. My advice is not to think of ABA as a therapy - but as a set of guidelines to assist you to teach effectively. It does not impact on your ability to parent in the way you want to - it will just help you understand what you are doing better.