With autism prevalence growing, more families need support and education

Maura Buckley

You don’t need to look at new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey results to know that the prevalence of autism is increasing. As a parent, I see it every day. The waiting lists for autism-related services are longer, resources continue to tighten within our schools, health care providers are under increasing demands, and many families struggle to find access to appropriate therapies.

When my two boys received their autism diagnoses, I wasn’t prepared. None of us are. They needed intensive therapies that were not very accessible, and my insurance at the time didn’t provide the coverage that we needed. It was difficult to know where to turn. I approached legislators, educators, advocacy groups, medical providers — anyone that I thought might provide some direction. The road of a parent with children affected by autism is a road of vigilance, love, determination, advocacy, and tremendous financial burden.

I was fortunate to find experts who understood and communicated the importance and effectiveness of applied behavior analysis (ABA). They helped me understand the terminology, debunked the myths, and gave me the confidence to keep learning. I learned as much as I could about ABA, so that I could help my children learn more effectively and give them the support they needed to thrive.

Breakthrough

When my youngest son turned five, he began to speak. He started counting, then he recited objects, and then one day, he said “I love you Mama.” This was an incredible breakthrough after years of intensive therapy. With ABA, he continues to make huge strides and his success continues! My eldest son is nonverbal, but with ABA he learned to communicate with an iPad, manage his behavior, and become more independent. They both make me so proud, every day.

Don’t wait to educate

To help families get access to the right ABA resources, I partnered with child development experts from UMass Medical School’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center to develop an ABA learning guide with a parent voice. Discovering Behavioral Intervention: A Parent’s Interactive Guide to ABA demonstrates real-life situations and strategies, framed through the eyes of parents who go through the same struggles that we all do. The education and tools that Discovering Behavioral Intervention provides are priceless when you see the results. I’m so excited to get this product into the hands of parents everywhere who are on the road of the complex journey that is autism.

With the potential of 1 in 50 children being on the autism spectrum, it’s all too clear that families are in more need of support now than ever before. Don’t wait, get involved, educate yourself, and help your child or children reach their greatest potential.

Maura Buckley, former Product Manager
UDiscovering