Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wonderful story about four year boy with Autism Spectrum Disorder and his Macaw

Up until recently, Dylan Hargreaves, a 4-year-old boy with autism, had never spoken an understandable word. That all changed when he met Barney. Barney, the family's blue and gold Macaw, apparently was able to reach the boy when humans could not, according to Ananova. Since receiving the bird from Rob Hargreaves in January, Dylan has learned to say several words including "night night", "dad", "hello" and "goodbye".Dylan is even able to say "night night mum" before going to sleep at night.Every time Michelle taught Barney a new word, Dylan made an attempt to say it too. He is even beginning to utter two syllable words, which he has never attempted in the past. What two syllable word is he trying to master? Why "Barney", of course and rightly so. After all, this bird has brought more to Dylan's life than a simple pet. Barney has brought Dylan the means to begin his journey into verbal communication with the world.Dylan's mom, 33-year-old Michelle, believes that it is because Barney speaks slower than people do and it allows her son to understand and repeat the words more easily. She says that every time she teaches Barney a new word, Dylan learns it too."If there's some enjoyment, a child is more likely to learn. And presumably this parrot has attracted the boy's attention," speech therapist Dr Hazel Roddham of the University of Lancashire said, according to Ananova.Autism effects 3.4 out of every 1000 children between 3-10 years of age in the United States and causes significant difficulties with communication and social development. Although autism rates appear to be increasing in recent years, it is unclear if the rates themselves are increasing or if we are becoming better at diagnosing such disorders.Research continues to be done on autism. Scientists have identified several conditions considered to be on the autism spectrum that range in severity from being almost totally incapable of communication to impairments in understanding the fine nuances of language and social cues, such as; being unable to read body language and facial features.Barney has brought new hope and joy into the lives of the Hargreaves family. Sources:Parrot teaches boy of 4 to talk.Emma Morton. The Sun. URL: (,,2-2007180324,00.htmlBoy Learns Parrot Fashion. ANANOVA. URL: (