After a week of intensive behavior therapy, one California 13-year-old with autism is learning to follow rules, though work remains to be done.

CNN followed the family through a week of Nanny-911 style behavior therapy. Beforehand, the teen was “out of control.” Her parents let her do whatever she wanted because they feared what might happen otherwise. Even so, the girl had constant screaming fits.

The behavior therapist instituted rules and established a system based on rewards. To her parents’ surprise, she was able to meet expectations, with practice.

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“I learned that Marissa is smart,” mom Mary Bilson said of her daughter. “Smarter than I thought.”

Since the week of therapy, the family says that the teen’s screaming has subsided. She also no longer goes into her sister’s room uninvited or takes over the computer, once frequent occurrences.


Previous stories on this topic:

A Family Seeks Calm Through Behavior Modification (February 3, 2009)

Household In Peril: When Behaviors Become Too Much (December 29, 2008)