Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a serious neurodevelopmental disorder that impairs an individual’s ability to communicate and socially interact. Each ASD diagnosis is unique to the individual, and therefore no one with Autism is like any other person, and their treatment must be individualized as well.
If you ask a parent of a child with Autism what Autism is, the answer might be “Autism is a feeling of disconnect, isolation and hopelessness, filled with difficult moments that never seem to come to an end.” Autism is a child’s non-stop screaming for no apparent reason, or hitting, biting or breaking things because you tried to hug them. It’s making one hundred kinds of food and the child eating none of them, or being in a public place and leaving immediately out of embarrassment or because you were asked to leave. It’s not sleeping at night, or an aching sadness because your child is never invited to a birthday party. It’s people’s faces filled with pity, anger and incomprehension. It’s the shadow of fear that begins to grow the moment your child is diagnosed, a shadow that follows a family and is mirrored in the tired eyes of the parents in their seemingly endless search for help.
But Autism is also an appreciation of the smallest and simplest triumph achieved by your child. Whether it’s trying a new food, their response when you call their name, or even them finally calling you “Mom.” It’s a mind that can recall entire TV episodes, and the look they give you that says more than words could ever say. It’s these moments that fuel your daily hopes and struggles and flow through your heart and give you strength to wake up every morning.
And one day your child turns 21 and you realize that school is over but the job isn’t done. What is the next step?
ACES (Autism Customized Employment & Services) is Abilities’ solution to that question. Each day people graduate from school and go to work, and this can also be possible for people with Autism. It won’t happen the same way it does for others, but by customizing treatment, ACES allows people with Autism to thrive by gaining a clear and realistic understanding of their potential. Everyone aspires to be part of their community, even those with disabilities, and through the use of applied behavioral analysis Abilities can identify strengths, create new routines that support growth, and facilitate independence and success.