We have exchanged emails before but it has been about a year since I last sent you an update. I first read “7 Steps” and your book ETR two years ago when we initially received our daughter’s autism diagnosis. Two years later it continues to serve as my companion and guide. It has been the single most influential and important work on autism that I have read and, I believe, I have read a lot on the topic.
Today our daughter spent her first day at the school we plan to send her to next year for Grade 1 – a private school for typical children. This was a first step in a transition plan to move her from her centre-based ABA program, that she has been attending since March 2008, to a regular Grade 1 classroom in September 2010. We were able to observe her from outside the classroom and she did remarkably well. She interacted well with the other kids; the average person would not be able to tell that our daughter has autism. (They would notice her language is somewhat delayed.) This was a momentous day for our family; our daughter was able to shine on her own.
Over the last two years we have had challenges at home. In particular, we had to get through the extinction bursts. If it wasn’t for your example of the 5 hour marathon that one of your staff members had to endure with a boy, I’m not sure we would have had the courage to get through the 4+ hour marathon that we had. Because of your book we have been able to navigate these waters successfully. Our daughter hasn’t had a meltdown in several months; she is so well-behaved and loving. There’s no autistic gaze; no self-injurious behaviour; no more sensory issues; no stims. It really is amazing. While her current school deserves a LOT of credit, we wouldn’t have the normal home life we have without your book. That I know. We really have no limitations on what we do and where we go as a family.
Though it may seem odd to receive such praise from someone you’ve not met, your book has had a profound impact on me, my daughter and my family. It has given me great confidence in how best to help our daughter.”