Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Meet Ethan.

In the summer of 2011, Ethan was in personal health and behavioral crisis. At 6’4” he weighed over 415 pounds and refused to eat most foods, with the exception of fast food. His challenging behaviors were so severe that his family and school were unable to control his temper. After a nationwide search for a program that could successfully meet his needs, Ethan and his family found the Autism Treatment Center.

At the age of two, Ethan’s mother, Willie, began to notice something different about him. What speech he had developed was now gone. Treatment began right away, but Ethan was not officially diagnosed with autism until he was three. At the time, Willie was a stay at home mom and spent the day learning ABA techniques and working with Ethan to keep him engaged. Even though Ethan has severe autism, he has always had a variety of interests and has kept active in the community for most of his life.

During his last few years at home with this mother in Santa Barbara, California, Ethan became more and more limited in his ability to socialize and attend school. Meanwhile, Willie had gone back to work and was using all of her vacation hours to run his treatment program. His challenging behaviors began to increase to the point of being unmanageable; it was during this time that fast food was the only thing that would temporarily calm him. Consequently, Ethan gained a significant amount of weight and his health suffered.

Eventually, the school district decided that they would no longer be able
to provide an education for Ethan and began the search for an appropriate program for him. “It has always been my firm belief that Ethan would succeed best in an environment that was structured across home and school, like a residential school,” Willie said of the search. In the months that followed, the Autism Treatment Center was recommended, and the search was over. “After our first phone conference we were convinced that if Ethan was going to do well in and out of his home environment, that his best chance was at a place like ATC. We were not disappointed,” said Willie.

At the age of 19, Ethan enrolled in the Autism Treatment Center's Educational and Residential Programs. 
Through intense behavioral therapy, Ethan has grown into a healthy, fun, and happy young man. Within a year of enrollment at ATC he adapted to a fitness program and now enjoys eating healthy foods, and therapy gardening. Over the course of his journey, Ethan lost over 220 pounds and is doing so well he began his own cottage business called "ATC Coffee Express", selling coffee and snacks to staff and guests throughout the ATC campus.

Ethan continues to progress and maintains positive social interactions with his teachers and peers at home and school. In October 2011, Ethan was nominated, and won, the ARC of San Antonio’s Achiever of the Year Award!

Throughout this process Willie has been able to watch Ethan grow, “I am so proud of Ethan's progress and I am so grateful that he has a place to thrive and live life to his full potential!”