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A New Treatment for Autism on the Horizon

Updated on October 21, 2013
JT Walters profile image

JT Walters has a Master's of Science in Behavoralism from Florida State University. She is a researcher in many professions in Florida.

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Often I have written about making your own discoveries and being innovative in your own lives. I believe this with all my heart. I believe whatever is in me that can take a blank piece of paper and create an article, poem or painting is the same thing which is innovative and can make discoveries. So the year after my Mom died I wrote to all of you, my friends who have endured my recovery while I pulled myself through my grief, and found what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. In cancer care, especially end stage, I became lost to myself. I became a stranger to myself if you will. So while I wrote and made every grammatical, spelling and typographical error known to editors I was also thinking and being creative. I believe accessing that region of my mind helped me heal but after the death of my Mother I became even more sympathetic to the human plight especially to those children with autism and special needs as well as their parents. Often I have written articles trying to bridge the gap between society and the special needs population but this often seemed like I am building the bridge over river Kwai.

Fortunately, I met someone who was as touched by children with special needs and their parents as I was. I was amazed as I thought I was the only one. We talked about everything and we discovered, despite very different political views, the science was indisputable. We both agreed though that the amount of research in Autism was small compared to the numbers of children diagnosed with Autism. While we did not ignore the biochemical markers and the neurological aspects of Autism we have taken an approach through Verbal Behavior with children with Autism who were both verbal and non-verbal. We did this with the consent of the parents who were willing to work with us and at our own personal cost. Both of us have literally spent hundreds of hours and hundreds of dollars to conduct this six month study. Both my research partner and I are pretty die hard researchers. You have to be to spend your own money and time, life got in the way on several occasions, and we had to still work on our research.

The Basic Premise of What We Were Doing

In The Beginning

For instance my research partner who wasn’t supposed to get pregnant and yet she was pregnant by the second month into the study. So women beware when you conduct research. My son got sick and I have been going through a year and a half of child support enforcement court as if I have nothing better to do. I haven’t been paid a dime. So we had pregnancy, illness and court all on top of research. But by the middle of the study it was quite evident our research was panning out. We were about to make a major break through in the field of Autism research. Towards the end we had to write our paper which is currently being reviewed by a professional periodical review panel. And just yesterday I found out we were in the top 30 papers for presentation in the state of Florida. This is quite an honor. I don’t know if we will be able to attend as we have spent all of our own money researching but the results, when presented and accepted by the scientific community, will have a significant impact on treatment for Autism. Right now my research partner is in New Jersey so I will have to find out if she even wants to present as she is very pregnant right now. If we do not present this year there is always next year.

Our publication is still under review.

ABA Discrete Trial Training

The Middle

As we were in the middle of our study we started to discuss what we should do with our results. We both concurred we should present and publish but we also acknowledge there was a gap between cutting edge technologies and accessibility for the special needs population. Remember we really did all of this out of our compassion for this population so our goal is to get our intervention into as many childrens’ hands as quickly as possible. We decided to pilot a program locally if we find the resources. As part of finding the resources we decided to start a foundation. We are half way there now and it is quite an adventure. I am muddling through but to be honest, I am much better at research. Once my research partner has her first child we will seek funding and then run three field studies to further enhance treatment outcomes. Both my partner and I would like to be paid a reasonable salary and we need support staff but we don’t expect to be the next Bill Gates. It really is about helping children and families who have touched our hearts and who struggle every single day just to keep their heads above water.

Presenting Our Findings

The End???

Hopefully, I will not live long enough to see an end to our dream. This is our dream and we have been both innovative and creative to make it happen. We have accomplished the acceptance of the paper as one of the top thirty in the state of Florida. We have the paper under review for a professional publication which is another goal. We have given hope to parents of children with Autism who were barely verbal or non-verbal. And for those children with Autism we have reached them and allowed them to express themselves in ways no one else ever thought they were capable of. They are proud of themselves and we are proud of them as well.

The only end I hope to see in my life time is the end of the hopelessness and despair so many feel who have autism or who have children with autism. I want those families to know I work each and everyday to find new innovative techniques to help their children. And I will never surrender my dream to end their hopelessness and should my dream be their dream around the world.

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    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      OH MY GOD, JT! I can't wait to hear more about your research paper! I have a 5 year old non-verbal autistic son and would be very interested in learning more about your research! Would you mind if I shared this with his former special needs coordinator that is studying autism? She's only former because we had to move out of her district. :(

    • JT Walters profile image
      Author

      JT Walters 4 years ago from Florida

      Of course you can share this as I didn't present the nuts and bolts of the treatment. I have to wait until professional publication or state presentation which ever comes first. There is a third option of presenting internationally as well. We have three more studies to conduct before we will have a technology available to rapidly adminitser our treatments.

      We are in awe of both the children and the parents of children with Autism and we work diligently everyday to find a highly effective low cost intervention for this population.

      Share away my friend. Didn't everyone on HP wonder why I was publishing so infrequently?

      JT

    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 4 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      Here is wishing you the best of luck on your research. It is so very important to do. Thank you for taking on such a needed task. Beautiful!

    • JT Walters profile image
      Author

      JT Walters 4 years ago from Florida

      Thanks Ruby,

      The children with Autism and their parents have inspired both myself and my research partner. We present our findings in about a month and a half. We have a lot of work to do to get ready for that conference.

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment.

      JT

    • Rob Winters profile image

      Rob Winters 4 years ago

      Congrats Jt.Hopefully things will conspire in your favor and you'll be able to attend.Fingers crossed :-) Rob.

    • JT Walters profile image
      Author

      JT Walters 4 years ago from Florida

      Good Evening Rob,

      From your finger tips to God's ears. Thank you and I can only hope we get to present our findings.

      Then the goal is to deliver services and continue to find new and improved technologies to give every child the opportunity to full participants in society.

      Thanks for reading Rob and it is always wonderful to hear from you.

      JT

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Well done JT to you and your research partner. I too look forward to hearing more about your research. Good luck with having your results published and hope it will help the many on the autism spectrum.

    • JT Walters profile image
      Author

      JT Walters 4 years ago from Florida

      Thanks MPG,

      I appreciate it and will work diligently to serve this population.

      JT

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