JACK’S CASE STUDY
Jack was referred to SOAR because of his autism diagnosis. Jack had not been making progress toward typical developmental milestones.
He would not make eye contact, did not share smiles or laughs with caregivers, frequently engaged in repetitive behaviors like hand flapping, and would not point or request using gestures. His only language was repeating the last word he heard. For example, his mom would say “do you want to go outside?” and he would say “outside.”
His mother called us because she had just received the diagnosis of autism and was desperate for help.
We began with a comprehensive assessment that determined all areas of need that needed to be targeted for Jack to make progress. Our SOAR therapists got to work and spent tons of time building up language.
We began by teaching Jack to copy sounds in a meaningful way. We quickly learned that Jack loved food. So we would present his favorite food, fruit roll-ups, and say “roll up.” When Jack copied our words (like he always did) we would give him a bit of fruit roll-up.
Eventually Jack learned that using words got him things he wanted. Once he got this skill down, we started expanding his sentences. Now we wanted him to say “I want a fruit roll up.” Eventually we grew this language even further, teaching Jack to comments on events in his world (look at the airplane!) or talk about his feelings (I’m tired).
Over the course of several years, and lots of hard work, Jack learned to speak in complete sentences. By the time he was in 3rd grade, Jack was speaking in full sentences, describing his day at school, and having back-and-forth conversations with his family and friends. His doctor even removed his autism diagnosis from his chart.
Jack no longer required an IEP and could be placed fully in general education without any special education supports.