Patient Story: Duncan


Like most 9-year-old boys, Duncan is full of energy. The youngest of three children, Duncan's love of swimming, reading, and building things is obvious in the first few moments you meet him.

But what’s less obvious is why Duncan has received treatment at our Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (CADD) Partial Program.

Once happy-go-lucky, Duncan suddenly refused to go to school, living in fear that bad things would happen at home if he left. Diagnosed with autism, anxiety, and suffering from crippling panic attacks, Duncan’s home-based case worker and board certified behavior analyst recommended CADD as the young boy fell further into a downward spiral.

For four weeks, CADD therapists spent six hours each weekday working intensively with Duncan, helping him learn everything from how to regulate his body speed to basic social skills, such as how to make and keep friends, and how to navigate interactions and conflicts. Simultaneously, CADD was providing his parents with behavior management tools and strategies.

“There’s a large parent component to this program; we educate and provide the strategies their kids are learning so they can apply them at home,” says Kehinde Vaz, a CADD social worker who worked closely with Duncan and his parents.

Where Duncan previously felt challenged by his school’s social and academic expectations—his anxiety shooting through the roof as he’d shut down, unable to express his feelings—the coping skills he learned at CADD opened doors to new self-confidence.

Today, that confidence is on full display as Duncan makes his way through new life experiences, knowing he can lean on the relationships he built at CADD—the most comprehensive treatment facility of its kind in the nation—when he needs extra support.

“We never felt judged at CADD; we only felt welcomed,” says Bethany, Duncan’s mother. “Had we known how good the program is, we would have enrolled Duncan sooner.”