Where Brady Started
Brady was a client of Cornerstone for almost 3 years and started receiving therapy in August of 2013. He was a half-day client, spending the other part of his day in a classroom setting. The major behaviors his therapists were tracking included tantrums, mouthing his hands or objects, and biting his thumbs. Tantrums occurred a few times a session and sometimes lasted up to 25 minutes. Mouthing occurred an average of 41 times a day and biting occurred an average of 11 times a day.
Brady’s highest reinforcer when he started services was the iPad. When he was denied access to it, he would begin to cry. His tantrums were often accompanied by biting his thumbs with strong force.
When Brady began services, he was babbling, and had a handful of signs, but wasn’t able to vocalize his wants and needs very well. He also preferred to play alone, typically not wanting to choose peers to interact with. He had trouble making eye contact, was a picky eater, wouldn’t ask to use the bathroom, and wouldn’t allow anyone to give him a haircut.
“It is so neat being able to say that I have been able to be a part of Brady’s life for almost 3 years,” said Kelsey Endres. “I love that I was able to work with Brady as both his therapist, and then later as his lead. I loved being a part of all of the progress he made, and do feel that ABA has definitely changed his life for the better.”
How Brady Improved
Brady loved to tell and listen to jokes with his friends, and he was known around the center for the animal noises he could make. Brady loves music and would sing along during group time or play “Mary had a little lamb” on the piano.
Brady learned to be able to sit calmly for an entire haircut given by Kelsey and his dad. He also was able to then generalize that skill to hairdressers in the community.
He is now willing to try almost any food when given a “first/then” contingency (e.x. “first green bean, then raisin bran”), including green beans, pears, and carrots to name a few.
He mastered programs such as zipping up his coat, riding his bike, writing his phone number and address, speaking in full 5+ word sentences and staying calm when unexpected changes to his routine occurred.
His mouthing and tantrum behaviors decreased the most, although all of his targeted behaviors did decrease over his time with Cornerstone. His mouthing behavior decreased from an average of 40 instances a day, to between 1-2 instances a day, and tantrums occur less than 1 time per day, on average. In addition, the duration of his tantrums have gone down substantially, from 20-25 minutes long, to often just a few seconds of whining/whimpering.
As his ability to communicate his wants and needs increased, his tantrums and self-injurious behaviors decreased. Brady learned that to get others’ attention, he could use his words to ask for help, a break, or to get attention. Now, Brady is able to use full sentences to ask for items he wants or needs, and can label emotions of himself or others, for example, saying “I’m excited.”
“He is an incredibly hard worker, and was very quick to master newly taught skills,” said Endres. “He very quickly caught on to both signs and vocals that were taught, and started to make friends at Cornerstone during his sessions there.”
This spring, Brady graduated from Cornerstone! Brady is now about to finish 1st grade and start 2nd grade in the fall.
“When we first found Cornerstone, we were lost and so confused on what to do for our son,” said Cristy, Brady’s mom. “Within just a few short weeks, we felt so much hope! Brady’s first therapist, Kelsey, brought out Brady’s personality, his voice, his smile, and so much more. When we first started, Brady did not speak. Just a few years later, he gave a graduation speech! I don’t know where we would be now without Cornerstone, but I know that with it, we took a ride around the block together on our bikes, and when we got home, Brady asked for water on his own.”