Celebrating Autism Successes -
Join us in celebrating 4 stories of success in Autism Connections!

Celebrating Autism Successes

Autism Successes Happen Every Week at Judson Center

Did you know that our Autism Connections clients experience important successes every week? Since celebration is a fundamental value for us, we know it’s essential to acknowledge the good things in life. That’s why we celebrate minor and major achievements within our Autism Connections program at Judson Center. Enjoy a few feel-good stories highlighting our team’s dedicated care, our clients’ abilities, and Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy’s positive impact on their lives. Join us in celebrating these autism success stories!

Noah Loves Writing Full Sentences

Meet Noah! Noah began receiving services at the Autism Connections Center in Ann Arbor in January 2020. At the start of his therapy, he struggled with social interaction and challenging behaviors and had a strong dislike for writing.

Noah has gained new skills like writing during his ABA at Judson Center

As Noah progressed in his ABA therapy, setting long-term goals became a joint effort between his care team and family. With his improved skills and reduced challenging behaviors, Noah’s team at Judson Center guided him in setting these goals. One of Noah’s goals was to improve his writing ability. Throughout the process, he showed incredible dedication, setting even higher targets once he achieved smaller goals. He improved his communication and negotiation skills, learning to advocate for himself.

Noah’s journey was marked by one achievement after another. Today, he can write an average of 20 sentences in a single day at Judson Center! His enhanced writing skills have benefitted his home life and increased his engagement at school. Through his commitment, Noah has developed the ability to engage in meaningful conversations, handle challenges more effectively, and enjoy various hobbies and activities. His care team says it’s a joy to see his smiling face every morning and celebrate all his accomplishments!

Amar Enjoys Going to Church

Meet Amar! Now four years old, Amar has attended Judson Center Autism Connections in Warren for over a year. Amar’s family is actively involved in their church, but he faced social anxiety attending services, leading to frequent tantrums, especially in the auditorium. His mom had stopped going to support him, with the shared goal of attending church together, a core family value.

Amar’s Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), Sydney, joined the family at church to analyze Amar’s behavior and create a behavior plan to help them reach their goals. The plan included setting Amar up for success with antecedent strategies (a way to remove potential triggers or causes of outbursts), creating a designated break space for Amar to go when overwhelmed, and implementing shaping and differential reinforcement techniques.

Amar and his mom received compassionate care to equip them with the tools needed to attend church together without challenging behaviors.

Tiffany, Amar’s mom, expressed gratitude for Sydney’s help addressing current challenges and equipping the family with tools to manage future behaviors independently. Sydney has not only given the family strategies for the current behavior challenges they are facing but has also taught the family methods that will help with future behaviors so they are more equipped to handle those on their own.

This collaborative effort between the therapy team and the family is a testament to the dedication and support crucial in the therapy process, which we deeply appreciate and respect. Amar can now attend church, and his family and faith community have the tools and support to meet his needs while he participates in church.

Carter Joined a Basketball Team

Meet Carter! This active young man has been a part of Judson Center since 2014, where he has always enjoyed playing catch, engaging with adults, and being surrounded by sports. When Carter’s mother informed us about enrolling him in the Special Olympics, we started supporting this goal at the center. We assisted him in learning skills like dribbling (both stationary and while walking), passing (chest pass and bounce pass), and increasing his engagement duration.

Carter has joined a basketball team and is working on his game thanks to his time at Judson Center!

Eventually, Carter joined a Unified basketball team and began weekly practices. The Special Olympics focuses on fostering social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences. Unified Sports brings together individuals with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team, creating new friendships and promoting understanding and empathy.

As a former certified Special Olympics Coach, Carter’s BCBA, Melissa, was especially delighted to see his progress. After much hard work, Carter participated in his first game on February 13! The family also noticed that Carter was naturally applying the skills he learned in the clinic to other environments. With his family and team’s support, Carter thrives and feels empowered to reach new goals!

Viaan Can Get a Haircut

Meet Viaan! In 2022, Autism Connections unveiled its Desensitization Room, sometimes referred to as the Life Skills Lab, to help our Autism Connections learners encounter environments that are a challenge for their sensory needs. The Life Skills Lab features realistic simulations of various settings like a barber shop, a doctor’s office, a dentist’s office, and a waiting room. These rooms help clients develop tolerance skills in environments resembling real-life situations, such as visiting a doctor or getting a haircut in the community.

Viaan can now get a fresh haircut at a barber shop just like his peers thanks to his ABA therapy and our Life Skills Lab!

Viaan, an 8-year-old boy diagnosed with autism, has been an exciting success story from our Life Skills Lab. Viaan uses an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) tablet to help him communicate. He had struggled behaviorally in public settings, especially during haircuts, leading his parents to avoid salons or barbershops due to negative experiences. Intending to help Viaan tolerate a 10-minute haircut using electric trimmers, the treatment team gradually introduced him to the tools in a classroom setting before progressing to the more formal life skills lab at Judson Center. After successfully acclimating to the trimmers for 4 minutes, Viaan’s parents decided to try a real haircut, which he handled well, thanks to the skills learned in the ABA program.

The team and Viaan’s parents were delighted by his progress and quick application of the skills he learned. They attributed this success to the training in an environment resembling a salon. Since mastering this skill, Viaan now comfortably receives regular haircuts in the community, marking a significant achievement for him and his family!

Autism Successes Are Real

We often take our daily abilities for granted, like going to the barbershop or attending an event. However, for our clients, autism makes these ordinary tasks more challenging. It takes determination, patience, and care to achieve these goals, but they did it! Every day, we get to experience true autism success stories, and we want to share that joy with others. We hope that when people think of children and adults with autism, they can learn to not only see challenges or difficult days but also to see the victories and achievements.