Autism Case Study: The Girl Who Couldn’t Stay Still



It’s 6:30pm. Jen prepared a beautiful dinner for the family. Tom and the kids sit down to eat. Jen savors the opportunity to try her new recipe and picks up the fragrant cilantro rice with her spoon to take a bite. 

Before the spoon gets to her mouth, eight-year-old Sharon is practically in Jen’s lap as she clambers to take food off the plate. “At least it’s rice she’s scooping with her hands this time, instead of applesauce,” thinks Jen.

That was the problem with dinnertime for Tom, Jen, and the family. They never knew which food would disappear from which plate as they ate.

Sharon’s siblings were not happy.

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Unfortunately, eating was just the tip of the iceberg of daily life challenges facing Sharon due to her autism. Other issues included:

  • Would not use words to request wants or needs on a consistent basis

  • Would bite when frustrated

  • Not toilet trained (Normal at age 2. Not so at age 5)

  • Would not sit still and engage in a single activity

  • Wanting to go everywhere in layers of dress-up clothing… and crying very loudly when Tom and Jen tried to talk her into more normal attire.

  • Inability to get dressed or undressed independently.

  • Would not use utensils to eat

  • Talked to herself

Sharon’s challenges made life complicated for the family. Tom and Jen felt embarrassed going out to the supermarket with their daughter dressed in 7 necklaces, 4 scarfs, 2 capes, and sunglasses. They felt even more embarrassed when she had a diaper on while they were out in public.

The kids felt bothered when Sharon would interrupt their playing.

The bites hurt, the dirty diapers were pungent, and Tom and Jen worried that Sharon would never be able to manage on her own.

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The Day Everything Changed

In November 2016, Tom and Jen enrolled Sharon in ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) therapy with Mastermind Behavior Services.

They were interested in how the MasterMind System could help Sharon make progress. Life has never been the same since for Sharon and her family. 

Sharon is…

  • more independent throughout the day

  • mostly potty trained

  • exhibiting appropriate mealtime etiquette, sitting in her chair and refraining from touching other peoples’ food

  • no longer wearing dress-up clothes everywhere

  • learning to communicate her wants and needs

  • transitioning to verbal requests (such as “go to the kitchen”)

  • using outdoor playground equipment

  • And more…

Tom and Jen were surprised by how much Sharon could learn, and how quickly. As therapists, we were too. We really didn’t know if Sharon could be potty trained because of her limited body awareness.

The MasterMind System

Without the MasterMind System, Sharon may never have made all of the progress we see today. The MasterMind System is an approach to ABA therapy that teaches skills and communicative abilities to children in a more natural way. We model the natural cognitive development process children progress through to make learning easier and more effective.

Another important element in Sharon’s success was the close and trusting relationship her BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) had with Jen. 

Lastly, Tom and Jen took advantage of in-home therapy so they could participate in helping their daughter develop.

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The Secret to Sharon’s Success

So, what was it that helped Sharon grow so much so quickly? How did she end up on a trajectory to live a much fuller and happier life?

One element is seeing each child as a holistic individual with their own strengths, weaknesses, and ways of communicating.

But the most important factor that helped Sharon is the fact that her parents took action and got the help they needed.

They appreciated that the longer you wait to get help, the longer it takes to help your child. They decided that they didn’t want to stall or delay or look into it “someday.”

Now look where Sharon is. 


There’s Hope for Every Child

Imagine train tracks that stretch all the way to the horizon. If you alter the course of those train tracks just a couple of degrees, they will end up miles away from where they point now.

ABA therapy is about helping your child change direction now, so they end up at a totally different destination in the future.

By helping children with autism learn the communication, social, and life skills they need, we can help them live more independently for the rest of their lives.

There is hope for every child.

Now It’s Your Turn

Would you like to get help for your child? Our team of highly experienced professionals has many decades of combined experience helping kids with autism. 

We can look at ways to address whatever is on your mind, including:

  • Signs of autism

  • Helping you set up a diagnostic evaluation

  • Toileting issues

  • Temper tantrums

  • Social skills issues

  • Difficulty performing routines

  • Communication deficits

  • Self-injurious behavior

  • Eating difficulties

  • Academic challenges

  • And more…

Here’s What to do Next

Below there is a form you’ll need to fill out, and on the following page you’ll be asked to pick a time to schedule your session:

Name *
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