My name is Kathleen the parent of a 7-year-old boy called Paul. Paul has Autism and since October 2003 he has attended the ABACAS school in Drogheda. Paul is our only son. When he was born we were overjoyed as he was just perfect and progressed like any other baby but then at around 18 months-2years we noticed that his speech was not as good as it had been the previous year and his behaviour also started to give us cause for concern. After a very long and frustrating time Paul was diagnosed as severely Autistic, which came as a shock and a huge blow. At that time we were told that Paul was very severe and that as an adult he might only have the understanding of a 10 year old. He had no speech and had serious behavioural issues. It seemed he would end up in an institution.
In October 2003 Paul was lucky enough to get a place in the ABACAS school in Drogheda. Just a few weeks after he started there my husband John and I were called in one day, because all our experiences with Paul had been so negative up to that point we were certain he was about to be expelled. The Director of the school reassured us that such a thing would never happen and we knew Paul had arrived at somewhere special. This support is so important as living with autism is such a strain on marriage and family life. It has been a long and tedious journey. Paul has made great progress it has truly been a metamorphosis as he was the child who could not speak is now speaking and reading writing and doing school work from the national curriculum independently. He is swimming, attending the local Beavers Club, piano, football, Olympic club and he also attends Drama. He is now taking control of his behaviours most of the time.
Paul’s achievements to date could not have happened if it wasn’t for the wonderful work that is being done on a daily basis at the ABACAS school. In this school the staff tirelessly give commitment and dedication. They truly have a vocation – they know each child so well and each child has his or her own individual schedule. The ABA method of teaching in ABACAS is second to none its just fantastic. It not only gives the right support to our children but it supports the family as a whole. ABA can help our children to reach their true and maximum potential. ABA changes the lives of young people and their families. I only wish there was an ABA school like this in a town in every county.