The signs of autism can be scary, especially for new parents.
“It was really difficult for me. We started to notice odd behaviors. Where he would flap his hands and get really close to the television and jump up and down. There would be 45 minute meltdowns twice a day.”
Sawyer was diagnosed at age two and a half.
“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, Dave Frey vowed to fight for Sawyer’s future.
He discovered BACA in Fishers. BACA stands for Behavior Analysis Center for Austism. Here, his son went through intense one on one applied behavior analysis training 40 hours a week for several years.
Dave says the results are amazing.
“There would be milestones he would hit, saying Sawyer did that, Sawyer did this, maybe he’s going to be alright.”
Now, Sawyer is 8 years old. He’s starting to mainstream into public schools and his progress continues and he says the meltdowns are rare.
The Burgett family has a similar story for their two sons after intensive applied behavior analysis therapy.
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.”
You would never know. 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. But, not Ethan’s family.
They believe their son Ethan was cured after the same intense applied behavior analysis therapy at the Center for Autism Related Disorders.
They say Ethan’s therapist made a bold prediction.
“She made a prediction, 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. It was a struggle from the very beginning.”
But today, Ethan’s parents believe he lost his autism diagnosis.
“It feels like a miracle. It looks like a miracle – but it’s been happening for a few decades now.”
Parents say you can call it whatever you want, and 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.”
And 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 spectrum.”