Although six-year-old Sienna had some verbal skills, which is not true for all children on the Autism Spectrum, her ability to express herself was limited and her social skills were poor. Unable to truly articulate what she was feeling, when she experienced frustration it would quickly escalate into aggressive behavior - hitting, kicking, scratching, screaming and crying.
Help arrived as our staff at Uplift Family Services provided a full diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and began working with Sienna using proven Applied Behavior Analysis techniques. In the ensuing year and a half, Sienna has made big strides. She has learned to express herself and be social with peers, even initiating appropriate social interactions. She has learned to tell people “no” and explain that she is feeling frustrated, angry or jealous.
So that there is continuity and consistent practice among all her support systems and for Sienna herself, our staff are present at both school and home. That means 30 staff hours per week in school and 16 hours per week in the home.
It’s been a huge help to her parents – and to Sienna. Before, she refused to ride the bus to school or would act out and be destructive in the home. Now, she may still protest or complain of feeling too hot or too tired, but she does not act out aggressively. And she can be redirected more easily.
Now Sienna is becoming independent in her home and self-care routines. She is able to wash hands, brush her teeth and bathe, where she was unable to do these before. Now she can pick out clothes based on the weather and get dressed.
Best of all is seeing the array of interests that have opened up for Sienna. She goes to the library, enjoys the trampoline center, and has visited the pumpkin patch. Her mom can go to the gym while Sienna plays with other kids in the childcare area. The whole family can enjoy an outing together like going on a hike.
As our Autism Spectrum Disorder services expand in Santa Clara County and the Inland Empire, you can directly help a child in the program. Your donation will provide an opportunity for a child with autism to keep practicing important skills and be supported by one of our caring teams. To learn more about how your donation can help, please contact Darren DeMonsi, (408) 364-4058, or visit our website and click on the Donate Now button to make a secure, online donation – please make a notation in the comment section of the donation form that your gift if for the “Autism program.”