ELLSWORTH - Autism - it's a neural developmental disorder. One in every 88 American children are diagnosed every year. For decades, recovery from Autism seemed impossible, but one Ellsworth family says that's exactly what's happening for their little girl.
Emma Stanley looks like your average nine-year-old girl, one who plays with Barbies and listens to Justin Bieber, but four years ago she couldn't even look you in the eye.
"You might not know that something was going on, except that she was really shy and really clingy. That's typical for high functioning girls. Often in public they look semi-normal just really sensitive and shy," Ellen Stanley, Emma's mother, says.
Struggling with a multitude of medical and developmental challenges, Emma was eventually diagnosed with High Functioning Autism.
"First off she had an adverse reaction to her Hepatitis B vaccine at birth, and then the home we lived in at the time, which was a rental home, had lead paint in it," Stanley explains.
Doctor Martha Herbert, a Pediatric Neurologist, at Massachusetts General Hospital, says there could be a correlation between lead poisoning and the onset of Autism.
"It wasn't until we could put all the pieces together that we could start treating her Autism, which is actually a medical disorder," Stanley continues.
So Ellen turned to the Son-Rise Program based out of Sheffield, Massachusetts.
This program teaches a specific system of treatment steps, designed for each individual child.
For Emma, this involved putting together a focus room, a space with very little in it, to help her focus on specific tasks, without any distractions.
"What we do in that special play space, is join them in that. We go into their world, and see what it is that they really like about it, and build on it," Stanley explains.
But this isn't the only thing that is leading Emma to recovery.
"It's super fun. I really like it, and I do this demo team," Emma says.
To find out what other factor has contributed to Emma's recovery tune in Friday at 6:00 on ABC 7 and 10:00 on Fox 22 Bangor.