The signs of Autism can be scary, especially for new parents.
“It was really difficult for me,” said Tony Burgett, whose sons were diagnosed with Autism.
“We started to notice odd behaviors,” said Burgett’s wife, Cara. “He would flap his hands and get really close to the television and jump up and down.”
The names may be different but the stories are similar. Dave Frey said his son, Sawyer, was diagnosed with Autism when he was about 2 years old.
“There would be 45-minute meltdowns twice a day,” said Frey. “We didn’t know how severe it was. We knew he was doing things repetitiously and he wasn’t very verbal.”
But leaning on his faith and his love for his son, he vowed to fight for Sawyer’s future.
He discovered Behavior Analysis Center for Autism (BACA) in Fishers. His son went through intense one-on-one Applied Behavior Analysis training 40-hours a week for several years. Frey said the results were amazing.
“There would be milestones he would hit,” he said. “(Therapists) saying Sawyer did that or Sawyer did this. Maybe he is going to be alright.”
Now Sawyer is 8 years old. He’s starting to mainstream into public schools and his progress continues and he said the meltdowns are rare.
The Burgett family has a similar story for their two sons after intensive Applied Behavior Analysis therapy.
“Unbelievable,” said Cara Burgett.
Their oldest son is slowly starting to mainstream in school and they say the signs in their youngest son are almost non-existent.
“Anyone that meets him from this point forward really has no idea that he was ever diagnosed,” said Tony Burgett.
“You would never know,” Cara said. “He has conversations with adults, peers, he has great friends, he plays every sport there is and he went here to BACA for three years.
These families stopped short of saying their children were cured of Autism. The BACA center in Fishers also said they don’t believe there is a cure for Autism.
But, not Ethan’s family. They believe their son was cured after the same intense Applied Behavior Analysis therapy at the Center for Autism Related Disorders near Los Angeles. They also said Ethan’s therapist made a bold prediction.
“She made a prediction,” said Wes Gorin, Ethan’s father. “She made a prediction in that meeting. She said in four years, Ethan will be cured basically almost to the day.”
It wasn’t easy.
“It’s a difficult battle,” said Wes Gorin. “It was a struggle from the very beginning.”
But now Ethan’s behavior has changed. The meltdowns are over and his social skills are on the same level as his peers. His parents believe he lost his Autism diagnosis.
“My favorite subjects would have to be either math or language arts,” said Ethan.
“It feels like a miracle,” said Dr. Jonathan Tarbox at the Center for Autism Related Disorders. “It looks like a miracle but it’s been happening for a few decades now.”
Parents say you can call it whatever you want. They say every child and diagnosis is different, but they are getting their children back.
“You could give him any diagnostic on the planet that would address Autism or diagnose him with Autism and he would pass every single one,” said Tony Burgett, of his youngest son after ABA therapy.
Now, formerly scared parents with an Autism diagnosis have other things to worry about.
“I think I’m more worried about raising a teenage daughter more than I am with a child on the (Autism) spectrum,” said Dave Frey.