22 July 2011
Wyatt is a bright, compassionate and funny 12 year old boy, who loves computers, video games, and karate. Wyatt’s mother, Virginia, also describes him as “brilliant” because of his math skills. He can calculate the number of days since past events and number of days to future events very quickly in his head.
When Wyatt was a young child, his mother remembers feeling as if she didn’t know how to communicate with him. He didn’t have functional language skills, became frustrated easily, rigidly held to routines, was often non-compliant, and had high anxiety. Virginia says that she knew Wyatt had a lot of potential, but she did not know how to pull it out of him.
Wyatt was 3 years old when he first began behavior therapy with ACT. His mother says she will never forget the first day of therapy when Dr. Anderson and three therapists arrived to help Wyatt. Initially, therapy focused on reducing anxiety, increasing flexibility in routines, and teaching Wyatt how to communicate, sit compliantly, focus on a task, and play games. PECS were used to help Wyatt communicate. When he was 5 years old Wyatt began to use more functional speech and he didn’t need PECS anymore. Virginia says that ACT helped her understand how to communicate with her son.
The process of therapy took time, but Wyatt made steady progress. When Wyatt was 7 years old, his mother noticed a significant leap in progress. “Things just started clicking,” she says. Wyatt began to ask questions, give better eye contact, express his feelings more appropriately, and he was able to better control his behaviors when he was anxious. Wyatt began to work on abstract thinking, complex social skills, and non-literal language. When Wyatt was 8 years old he stopped therapy, but continued to participate in ACT social skills groups.
Wyatt just finished the 6th grade with almost all A’s. This was the first year that he didn’t have an aide with him in his classroom. Virginia says that Wyatt still gets anxious in crowded places, but he manages his anxiety well now. Wyatt’s mother can tell that he is very proud and has more confidence in himself. Virginia says that she is looking forward to his future. She knows it will be bright!