Parents in Onondaga County New York are pleased with their children's progress in an ABA based pre-school program for autistic children. Applied Behavior Analysis has been subjected to hundreds of academic studies, and anecdotal reports, that indicate substantial gains for autistic children but still detractors look for some way to discredit ABA. Every success story like this one in Onondaga County New York makes it harder for those detractors to make their case.
Success with New Pre-K Autism Program
Last Update: Feb 7, 2007 7:59 PM
Manlius (WSYR-TV) - A new program, geared toward helping children with autism, is getting off the ground in Onondaga County.
Called Enable, and it's offered at a pre-school in Manlius.
Zachary Freeman looks like your typical 3 ½ year old. About a year ago, he was diagnosed with autism.
Zachary's mom, Janie, says her son has a hard time communicating and is nervous around other children. But since he started pre-school at shining stars daycare, he's come out of his shell.
“In the last month, I've noticed more joint attention, more spontaneous language, more interaction with his brother and us and it's really wonderful. We're thrilled,” she says.
Zachary's learning thanks to a special curriculum called applied behavior analysis, or ABA. It works to improve skills and behaviors in autistic children through a very structured learning environment.
Education Director Phil Grajko says, "Our job is to take that methodology, do it as intensely as we can in the 2 to 3 years that we have children so that they're successful in a typical kindergarten classroom."
To most people, this looks like a shopping cart full of toys, but here it's a shopping cart full of tools used to teach special needs children how to communicate.
Zachary spends five hours each weekday at the center. Thanks to county and state funding, it doesn't cost a thing.
Janie Freeman says, "They have one in Rome and Cortland, but we didn't feel that comfortable putting him on a bus that far, so we're thrilled this opened up.”
This is something they've wanted since Zachary was diagnosed. He’ll stay here until he's 5 and then hopefully start kindergarten somewhere else with other kids his own age.
The classroom is full now and there's a waiting list. The school is applying for more state aid so it can hopefully expand the program next year.