Alex and Liam are brothers. Though both charming and generally happy, they had never played together before joining Oxford Recovery Center’s ARTS program.
“Before starting the ARTS program, they would sit on opposite sides of the room,” says their mother. “I had to run from one to the other to get them to engage in play.” Then, just a few weeks after starting the ARTS program, ABA director Casey Diskin snapped the photo at the top of this post.
Now, the boys play together and interact with other kids. We love to see their progress here at the center.
Alex, the oldest, started in the ABA program in June and his brother Liam followed in July. Though Alex attended an early-on program and received speech therapy, he’d made minimal gains. After a few weeks at Oxford Recovery Center, his speech grew from 35 words to over 200. His extreme tantrums disappeared and he enjoys interacting with friends and staff.
When Liam joined our program, he made no sounds and did not point. He played repetitively with a very limited number of toys. But after a few weeks of ABA, Liam was making sounds and pointing to what he wants. He was even starting to say “no” at appropriate times. He engages in parallel play and tolerates group activities.
In addition to ABA, Alex is receiving HBOT and his mother met with our Medical Director and Nutrition Coach. She diligently implemented suggested dietary changes for both boys and pursued testing for Alex to gain insights into her son’s conditions. When asked what she believes to be causing the changes, she replied, “I think it’s everything together, the food, the HBOT, the speech therapy, and the ABA. After going through these therapies, I am starting to see changes.” She explained that because Alex is the oldest, they are trying the therapies on him first. And because he is responding so well to Oxford’s synergistic apporach, she will soon be adding the therapies to Liam’s regiment.
She went on to share stories of her boys playing at the park together for the first time and how their personalities are starting to come out as they try to be funny. “The other day my husband had corn chips in his hand and Alex pointed in the other direction to distract his daddy and then stole the chips right out of his hand,” she laughed. “For a parent with a kid without disabilities, you think moments like that are nothing. But to us, those things are huge. They are the motivation to keep doing what we are doing.”
Alex and Liam’s parents are not the only ones to notice the boys’ improvement. “The other day at school, Liam pointed to a book and said, “aba, aba,” she explained. He doesn’t talk at all and his teacher was almost in tears.” When talking about her family she said, “My mom hasn’t seen them since April. She’s coming next month and I can’t wait for her to see their changes. When other people don’t see them very often and then they see them, it’s awesome.”
Watching the boys grow into their personalities and blossom into playful young children is the greatest reward of all. We are so excited about their progress here at the center and we cannot wait to see where they go from here.
“Every time I talk to parents about ABA, I tell them about this place because it’s really hard to find people who care,” she explained. “I see the difference from the other places I have taken them. At other places, they see them as just another kid, but here, it’s personal.”
Creating a personal approach and treating each child and family like our own family is exactly what we strive for every day at Oxford. We have grown to love these two boys and it is amazing to watch them change and grow. We look forward to their bright futures, but for now, we love just watching them play with each other on the seesaw.