Sophia’s Story

Where Sophia Started

When Sophia started at Cornerstone in August of 2017, she used gestures and a few signs to communicate her wants and needs. She had difficulty transitioning away from reinforcement and often engaged in physical aggression if it was removed or if she was required to wait to gain access to preferred activities. She was not yet toilet trained, required her food to be arranged for her on her plate during mealtimes, and found toothbrushing to be very aversive. Sophia also engaged in refusal when attending a group with her peers. Her skills were in Level 1 of the VB-MAPP, and she had 14.5 milestone points out of 170 on the Milestones Assessment. In addition, she only tolerated working on a few programming tasks before receiving reinforcement.

How Sophia Improved

When Sophia graduated from Cornerstone, she could speak in sentences using her AAC device to request items/activities, discuss her interests, and share her feelings. She would calmly hand reinforcers to her therapists when it was time to transition and appropriately waited for items/activities when they were in use by others. The frequency of Sophia’s physical aggression reduced dramatically, as well. Sophia was toilet trained and demonstrated the ability to brush her teeth calmly. She was even able to complete most of the steps of toothbrushing on her own. In addition, Sophia can now independently select food items and set up her meal on a plate without prompting. She can clean up all meal-related trash and put away all of her food items at the end of the meal. She can even take her dishes to the sink and wash them without assistance. Sophia mastered 105 programs from the VB-MAPP Milestones Assessment during her time at Cornerstone and scored 119.5 out of 170. Sophia followed a daily schedule that included academic work and daily living skills. She attended a 15-minute classroom group twice a day with peers and completed other programming tasks for an average of nine minutes before gaining access to reinforcement.

Sophia is ready for her next adventure, but we will miss her at Cornerstone! When asking staff members what words came to mind when thinking about Sophia, they said: adventurous, independent, hard-working, fearless, determined, and extraordinary.

Kayla Helms, Sophia’s BCBA, said, “Sophia is one-of-a-kind! She was a joy to work with and had the most infectious smile. It was amazing to watch her communication skills grow. I know that she will blow everyone away at school with her ability to learn new tasks. I hope she never loses her spunk or her amazing dance moves!