Early intervention helps Joss to shine
Two year old Joss, who has autism, didn’t like spending time with others.
He was very uncomfortable around people and didn’t like them coming in to his space, finding it hard to tolerate others touching his toys.
Joss had no way of communicating and had very few play skills. Because of his communication problems he struggled to explain his needs, resulting in frustration and tantrums.
An assessment showed that Joss was demonstrating four developmental milestones, an extremely low score for a child of his age.
At this point Dimensions’ specialist Early Intensive Behavioural Support team got involved, using a modern applied behavior analysis (ABA) approach.
The ABA programme that Joss followed focuses on incremental teaching steps, and is designed to redress the balance of behavioural excesses and deficits. It does this through prompting and reinforcing appropriate behaviours.
Through teaching more appropriate and functional behaviours, deficit skill areas are developed. Undesirable excess behaviours are reduced through the withdrawal of reinforcement, redirecting it to these newly developing skills.
By training Joss’ family in the principles, Dimensions made the extremely limited support budget stretch much further. And results were quick.
One year later, Joss began speaking – he happily greets his tutors at the door and leads them to his workspace. By the time Joss was four he was demonstrating 56 developmental mile stones.
Joss now spends five mornings per week in a mainstream primary school, supported by his tutors, and the rest of his time at home receiving ABA.
Joss now loves to talk and is very socially motivated. He has a very strong interest in letters and numbers, which his tutors have harnessed, and his academic skills are now above those of his peers. But, there’s still much more to come for Joss.