- Written by Marcy Lytle
Autism is Dr. Domonique Randall's calling in life. Domonique says that at the early age of 16 she knew that she would do something in child advocacy, when she bought a behavioral psychology book at a yard sale. She has lived with autism, as her husband's older sister (with severe autism) lived with Mark and Domonique before they had kids. They know what it means to be booted out of a movie theatre, because of "happy" sounds made by an autistic family member. Domonique understands living with self-injurious behaviors and the other stresses that come along with autism.
So, just what is autism? And why is Domonique so passionate about it? According to the National Institutes of Health, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior. Domonique volunteered to work with a child with autism while studying in college, where she observed a team of ABA therapists at work. The mother of the boy with autism noticed Domonique's interest in her son and asked her to spend time with him. Domonique states, "I remember I went into his bedroom with him, which had been turned into a therapy room. I was intrigued.
- Written by Shape of Behavior
Despite numerous attempts to potty train, the boy has spent his entire life completely dependent upon others for attending to personal hygiene issues. "The Shape worked with him several years ago, but he would hold his urine for alarmingly long periods of time," explains the single mother of two boys. "I never gave up because Dr. Randall and her staff never gave up on my son. I always knew he would do it someday!"
- Written by Nancy Karp - Staff Reporter
"When Matthew was 18 months old, we noticed that he had no desire to talk. We had his hearing tested, and it tested fine. He seemed to not hear us when we would call to him; he was not processing what we were saying," said Ferguson.
Matthew did not play with toys, even though the family members would show him how. He was not imitating play, and he would not make eye contact. At 15 months, he tried to say two words, but lost that by age 18 months. Matthew was finally diagnosed with autism when he was 30 months old.
- Written by Amanda Waters
Imagine a four-year old boy who has never spoken a word. Never said "momma" or "daddy," never asked for a cookie or a glass of juice. A child who had never said "I love you." Now imagine this same boy, only five months later, saying "hat and "the card is red" and singing a song about a "bring brown bear." This boy is Eric Escobar. Eric has been diagnosed with autism, a developmental disability that prevents many children from doing what comes naturally to others.
Autism and other Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD) often prevent an individual from properly understanding what they see, hear and other wise sense. It can affect social relationships, communication and behavior. Frank and Anneliese Escobar, Eric's parents, attribute his rapid improvement to the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy he has been receiving for the past five months at The Shape of Behavior, an ABA/HBI clinic run by Domonique Randall, a certified behavior analyst. "Ever since coming to the clinic there has been a big change for Eric," Anneliese said. "He has been reaching one goal after another.