Norwalk Educators Hear Autism Expert's Results At Ridgefield Conference

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Autism expert Dr. Deborah Fein recently shared results of a study with Fairfield County educators in Ridgefield.
Autism expert Dr. Deborah Fein recently shared results of a study with Fairfield County educators in Ridgefield. Photo Credit: University of Connecticut

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- Autism expert Dr. Deborah Fein recently shared her research on the disorder at a gathering of local members of Cooperative Educational Services at the Henry J. Leir Retreat Center in Ridgefield.

Fein's groundbreaking research regarding the optimal outcome in individuals with a history of autism. Although autism spectrum disorders are generally considered lifelong disabilities, literature has suggested that a minority of individuals with the disorder will lose the diagnosis.

She presented the information to educators from the school districts in Bridgeport, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, Norwalk, Ridgefield, Shelton, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport and Wilton that are part of the Cooperative Educational Services.

The study focused on a group of individuals between the ages of 8 and 21 with documented histories of spectrum disorders diagnosed before the age of 5, including language delays.

These individuals currently have lost their autism symptoms and are no long diagnosable with autism, are in regular education classes or have attended college with no one-on-one assistance or services for social disability.

Fein believes that Applied Behavior Analysis during the ages of 2 to 3 years and in the preschool years is particularly helpful.

“We speculated that some of the mechanisms might be behind this excellent progress including receiving therapies that direct the child’s attention to the social and lingual environment and the structured teaching of skills at an early age, resulting in less overall cognitive and social delay,” Fein said in a statement.

Fein is the Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Connecticut and Professor of Pediatrics in the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. She recently co-authored a book on educating children with autism in mainstream classrooms.

The mission of Cooperative Educational Services is to identify and provide quality educational opportunities for educators, students, families and communities in a regional educational service center.

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My son was diagnosed at age 5 and attended CES in Trumbull from age 10. They were lifesavers and I cannot praise the teachers, therapists and administration at this school more for what they have done in the life of my child. He mainstreamed back to public high school and made honor roll his first semester back. He has flown through school with flying colors both academically and socially since. He is now a sophomore in a top college for his chosen field and doing extremely well. They turned a child who rarely showed emotion or spoke to a smiling, well socialized adult. Enrolling my son at CES was the hardest, but best decision we ever made on his behalf.

Lots of "experts", with theories; but none with cause or cure.