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Online Program Helps Parents, Teachers Treat Children With Autism

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ENCINO (CBS) — The Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) is world-renowned for working with children with autism and making incredible strides. Now there program is available for everyone to use at home.

“I built this [maze] from many little pieces,” said 8-year-old Kyle Pokorski.

If you consider where Kyle started, you would understand how amazing the elaborate maze he built from connecting blocks truly is.

When Kyle was just over a year and a half old, he was diagnosed with autism. His mom says he seemed to lose interest in talking; he seemed lost in his own world.

“He was a different child. He just seemed miserable. It seemed like something was different. He was a different child… He was miserable,” said Kyle’s mom, Rachel Pokorski.

From the moment he was diagnosed, he started therapy with CARD. They use the principles of applied behavior analysis to find a treatment plan for each child.

Now the center’s curriculum is available online in a program called Skills.

“I always had this need to develop a program that would empower parents and allow them to just be able to take our knowledge and apply it to their children,” said the program’s Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh.

It has taken decades for all this research for Skills to become a reality. But now that this Web-based program is here, it is a useful tool for both parents and teachers.

Parents can work with their children at home and even chart their progress while at work.

Skills covers everything from language to problem solving. A simple example is a lesson in the adaptive category — brushing your teeth — something Kyle couldn’t do at first, but excels at now.

“It made it easy for a parent to go through 1-2-3 and teach the step of the skill and then he felt the accomplishment that he could do it on his own,” Rachel said.

“It gives you a rate of learning for your child. It tells you how fast your child is learning things. Of course, if you do 10 hours a week, your child is going to learn at a certain pace, if you do 40 hours a week their going to increase,” Dr. Granpeesheh explained.

Tara has been working at CARD with Kyle since he was little. She calls his progress amazing and it can be seen on his Skills progress chart.

“This is how we can see. It’s a really handy visual for me and mom to look at all of the things that you’ve been learning,” Tara said to Kyle.

“And is it good for me too,” Kyle asked?

“It’s really good for you to see too,” she replied.

Kyle is happy and inquisitive child and has come so far from where he was. His mom is not only his biggest fan, but with Skills, she is his teacher too.

Stephanie’s Day, a resource fair to help inform and connect families of children with special needs, including autism, will be held Saturday, August 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the CBS lot in Studio City. Admission and parking will be free.

» Learn More About Stephanie’s Day
» Learn More About CARD’s Skills Program
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