Autism can be a challenging condition at times. This is both the individual and their loved ones. Take, for instance, Makena, a girl who was diagnosed with autism and faced behavioral challenges since a young age. By the time she turned five, Makenas behavior had become challenging to the extent that she started hitting walls and causing harm to her mother, resulting in multiple black eyes. Her Mom is Justice Sunny Bailey – a well-respected district court judge in Las Vegas.

Bailey shared that on an average day, her daughter Makena would display roughly 250 acts of aggression towards herself, others, and even inanimate objects. All this before she even began kindergarten, highlighting the severity of her condition and the challenges faced by those with autism.

Seeking Treatment

Bailey was determined to find the best possible treatment for her daughter. She first explored the option of placing Makena in a group home, as recommended by doctors. But Bailey wasn’t convinced. After extensive research and consultations with experts, she came across the Lovaas Center for Applied Behavior Analysis in Las Vegas, a program specifically designed for early intervention in autism. Without hesitation, Bailey enrolled Makena in the program and it cost her about $53,000 in 2003. Despite the steep cost, Bailey attests that it was worth every penny.

With the specialized care and individualized treatment offered at the Lovaas Center, Makena’s behavior improved significantly within just a few months. She went from having 250 outbursts a day to only one or two per week. This remarkable progress not only brought relief and peace for Bailey but also gave hope for Makena’s future.

Youths within the criminal justice

Many studies indicate that a significant number of youths within the criminal justice system have faced trauma, abuse particularly notable among individuals with autism, who often encounter difficulties in communication and social interactions alongside struggles in managing their emotions and behaviors. The conventional court systems are often ill-prepared to handle these issues, resulting in a pattern of repeat offenses and deeper entrenchment in the justice system.

DAAY Court

In response to this critical need, Bailey took action and established the DAAY Court. DAAY Court provides a unique and innovative approach to addressing the needs of autistic children and teens in the justice system. Through a variety of services, such as applied behavioral analysis therapy and recreational therapy, DAAY Court aims to provide these individuals with the help they need free of charge. About 87 autistic youths have successfully completed the program, with just seven returning to the system. This remarkable success rate enabled the expansion of the program & with Governor Lombardo recognizing the positive impact and signing Senate Bill 411. This bill serves as a catalyst for change, encouraging family courts across Nevada to adopt similar programs that prioritize rehabilitation and support over punishment.

Awareness and Assistance

It’s amazing to witness how one individual’s drive and foresight can make such a difference in the lives of a group in need. Bailey’s dedication has not just enabled these people to escape the cycle of repeat offenses. Has also equipped them with the essential resources to thrive and find fulfillment.

As awareness and assistance for people with disabilities expand, Nevada Autism stands out for its commitment to delivering top-notch ABA therapy for children dealing with autism and various developmental challenges.

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