Ashley started receiving Applied Behavior Analysis therapy at the Brent Woodall Foundation for Exceptional Children, a charitable nonprofit dedicated to empowering families of children with autism and other developmental disabilities, when she was just two years old and unable to look anyone in the eye, communicate what she wanted, or play with her sibling. Ashley began in the Intensive Intervention Program, through which she received at least 15 hours of one-to-one Applied Behavior Analysis therapy per week. Ashley’s parents and the behavior analysts at the Foundation worked together to create a customized education plan to help Ashley reach her fullest potential.
“By the time Ashley graduated, we knew she would be ready for Kindergarten. She now speaks in full sentences, she is a very happy child, and although she is still picky about her food choices, she eats about everything most children her age eat,” said Dana.
A year and half after graduating from the Brent Woodall Foundation, Ashley just finished her kindergarten year as an exceptional six-year-old student in an all-inclusive classroom. “She made wonderful grades and her teachers raved about her,” chimed Dana.
Ashley also just wrapped up her second season playing basketball for the Coppell YMCA. The skills Ashley developed in the one-to-one therapy and social skills groups at the Brent Woodall Foundation played a key part in helping Ashley learn to share, take turns, and be a team member.
Dana recollected on her favorite moment of the season. “The timer went off and Ashley didn’t realize it. She ran with the ball all the way down the court and scored! All of the other young players were confused, but the parents cheered loudly for her.”
One of Ashley’s favorite events of the Brent Woodall Foundation was the annual Walkabout for Autism, a fundraising event that allows the Foundation to offer families like Dana and Ashley’s the therapy and training they need to change their lives for little to no cost.
“We have gone to the Walkabout every year that we can,” said Dana. Here children enjoy the games, face painting, and bounce house and Dana enjoys the raffle prizes as well as the friendships she developed with the other parents and staff at the Foundation.
“We go to give back to the hard workers at the Brent Woodall Foundation, who helped my Ashley on the road to recovery from autism.”Pictured above: Ashley and her sister at a past Walkabout.