Category Archives: Blog


Water Safety


Make Water Safety Your Priority Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards. Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone. Even at a public pool or a lifeguarded beach, use the buddy system! Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Learn-to-Swim courses. Never leave a young child unattended near waterand do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water. Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacketsaround water, but do not rely on life jackets alone. Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail. For example, set limits based on each person’s ability, do not let anyone play around drains and suction fittings, and do not allow swimmers to hyperventilate before swimming under water or have breath-holding contests. Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of water including ocean shoreline, rivers and lakes. Cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall into these bodies of water dangerous. If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning. Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance […]

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Samantha’s Story


Samantha began attending the Applied Behavior Center in January of 2013, when she was 5 years old. The center came highly recommended by a coworker of mine. After sending Sam to a developmental pre-school for 2 years, we decided to try ABC for Autism. When she started at ABC, she was unable to communicate with us. She couldn’t tell us what she wanted, felt or needed. Her behaviors were uncontrollable. She would cry, scream and throw fits because she lacked communication skills. She was also unable to use the restroom even though we had tried to potty-train her for the previous 2 years. The difference in Sam was noticeable almost immediately. She was potty trained in just 8 weeks. She started talking and putting two words together. She had decreases in rocking, blabbing, and other repetitive behaviors One of the best moments for us was mid-May of 2013. We were tucking in Sam for the night and as we walked out her room, in her perfect soft little girl voice she said “Mommy…I…love…you”. I whipped around and turned on the light exclaiming “what did you say!!??” She giggled at my excitement and would not repeat herself. I tucked her in […]

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Kennedy: The Little Things


Robert Brault once said, “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize that they were big things.” Isn’t that what the basic ideology behind applied behavior analysis really is: little things, when put together add up to very big things? For nearly three years, the amazing team at ABC has been working on each small step in my daughter Kennedy’s progress — her little things. Kennedy was diagnosed with autism shortly before her third birthday. After trial and error, we decided to give ABA a try in hopes that it would be what we were looking for to open doors that had once appeared to be locked tight. I still remember her enrollment meeting like it was yesterday; I was anxious and wondered how she would handle working eight hours a day five days a week. It was a big leap of faith to trust that she could do it and that these were the right people to help her. It didn’t take long, however, to start seeing really positive changes in my little girl. I can honestly say that was the best decision I ever made. When she first started, her language was limited […]

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Lucas: Our Very Hungry Caterpillar


Having a child with Autism is difficult to put into words. Every situation and challenge is unique.  The uncertainty of daily life puts pressure on everyone in the family; describing it and trying to get assistance only left us more confused. When we were first introduced to ABC, Lucas was in his own world and we couldn’t break through.  Frustrations were high and temper tantrums were often; Lots of crying and not a routine to speak of. He didn’t have the tools to communicate with anyone.  Our lives revolved around what he could handle and our family didn’t spend a lot of happy quality time together. On his first day at ABC, everything began to change.  The therapists found what motivated him and set goals for his development.  His confidence quickly grew. As soon as one skill was mastered, the next came easier and he quickly began building his accomplishments.  At one time I wondered if we would have conversations; now I find myself trying to find the words to answer his questions!  Most recently, he asked, ‘Mommy, what did you do today?”  My response startled him as I gasped and scooped him up into a bear hug! I couldn’t […]

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Twins on the Spectrum


  As I stare at this blank page on my computer screen and think about what I want to say about how the Applied Behavior Center has affected my family, I can’t imagine how I will ever get words to accurately reflect the depth of my gratitude for the work they do. My now ten year old twin sons have been attending ABC for five years. We have all heard the saying, “If you meet a child with autism you have met one child with autism.” Those words could not be truer for us. Genetically they are twins but the way autism has affected them and the challenges it creates for each could not be more unique. Between the two boys we have dealt with aggression, disruptive stemming behaviors, elopement, safety in public settings, toilet training issues, grooming problems, general compliance, on and on the list goes. If there is an “undesirable behavior” on the spectrum we have probably seen it at some point. As these challenges come and go in our everyday lives, our program coordinator, therapist and team leaders have been right there to help us develop and implement a plan. That’s really what stands out about ABC. […]

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Rewriting the Script: Kennedy & Sawyer’s Story


  I remember back when I was pregnant with Kennedy. I read all the baby books and made all the lists of things that I needed. I had my bag packed and ready with all the “essentials” that you were supposed to bring to the hospital two months before my due date. Her nursery was stocked with all the things I would end up never using. I ate all the right things. I took my vitamins. I avoided caffeine. I did my homework and carefully planned the next eighteen years of her life before she ever took her first breath. I would be the kind of mom who read stories at bedtime, and did crafts after our homemade organic lunches. She would take ballet and violin lessons and read chapter books before kindergarten. She would never argue or throw tantrums in the grocery isle. I would never yell. We would attend mother-daughter tea in perfectly pressed lacy dresses that would never be soiled. I imagined it all in my white-picket-fence silver screen version of our life. Needless to say, life looks a little different today. I had several friends who were pregnant at the same time as I was with […]

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Through the Eyes of Autism: Liam’s Story


Hello Everyone! My name is Liam, or as my family and friends like to call me, Li Li. I was born just one minute after my twin brother Kellan and I am five years old. Grownups use very big words to describe the challenges I face, but I know that from my perspective, I am a happy boy who loves my family and my therapists. Although I cannot speak yet, my therapists at ABC are working with me daily to help me to communicate my thoughts in other ways. I am making progress that my parents and grandparents can see every day.   I smile easily and I hug warmly. These are just a few of the ways that I show my family and therapists that I love them while I cannot yet use the words “I love you.” My family understands that I communicate differently than they do, and they are working hard to learn my language while I work hard to learn theirs.   Before I came to ABC, I didn’t understand how to tell people what I wanted or needed.   At ABC I am learning to use my hands to do sign language. This makes it easier […]

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Liam & Finnegan’s Autism Journey


  When our twin boys, Liam and Finnegan, were diagnosed with autism, all my focus and attention went to finding people who could help them learn. I was so sure of their potential- when I looked at them I saw smart, happy, spirited little boys who saw and felt the world in a way that was foreign to me. I was convinced that despite the diagnosis, they were just as capable as anyone else to learn and grow, and I wanted to find a way to connect with them and have a better relationship with them. I had been advised that ABA therapy was the best way to help my boys learn, so I enrolled them in ABA therapy at another center. At the time, Finnegan said a few words but had no functional language and Liam was completely nonverbal. I was apprehensive about sending them to therapy, as they were usually home with me all day, but I knew that one-on-one therapy was best for them and was something I obviously couldn’t provide for them myself. Their time at the other therapy center wasn’t anything I was expecting. I felt completely left in the dark about my kids’ days, […]

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Evan’s Food Program Success


  “Evans’ eating program is a great success! Evan is an 8-year-old boy who is completely non-verbal but is currently making great strides in his therapy programs. He attends the Indianapolis North Applied Behavior Center for Autism and late last year they started him on a food program to try and increase his food intake, both in quantity and type (especially the types of food).  None of the new food items would he ever even try, we couldn’t even get them anywhere near his mouth.  Prior to this program, Evan would eat yogurt, bananas, Kraft Mac N Cheese, some deli meat (Oscar Meyer Delifresh), goldfish crackers, Pringles, teddy grahams, Kraft Singles Cheese, applesauce, pudding, hot dogs and Club crackers.  Obviously not a great assortment! ABC started a food program in which he was required to start his lunch with the new item in increasing amounts daily.  There are 5 steps to the plan and he needs to successfully complete each one before progressing on to the next one.  At the end he is eating a full serving of the respective food item.  We were told originally that the program has had successes previously.  Not at the rate of success for […]

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Holly’s Autism Journey


“Holly is not just the face of Autism but also the face of success. I am Holly’s Grandmother. AKA Goo. A name she came up with and I have come to embrace. Holly was always different, I think we noticed as early as 3-4 months. She arrived just a few days before Christmas. Perfect in every way. 10 fingers, 10 tiny toes and a perfect APGAR score of 10/10. She laid there in the warmer so alert and laid back. It didn’t take long to notice changes. She never made eye contact and would make every effort to avoid it. She had trouble with formula and had frequent illnesses. Each time a new symptom presented itself, I would Google it. Every time I searched, the same dreadful word appeared: Autism. We were able to finally get a diagnosis shortly after she turned 2. The doctor very matter-of-factly stated: Holly has classic Autism. What he meant by that is that she may never potty train and she will have limited opportunities in life. He told us that we shouldn’t expect much. We enrolled Holly in ABA therapy at ABC right after the center opened in Richmond, IN. She is almost 5 […]

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