Fighting Autism: A Mother's Story

PHOTO At the tender age of 18 months, Roman Scott was diagnosed with a form of autism.

At the age of 18 months, Roman Scott was diagnosed with a form of autism. By age 4, he no longer tested on the autism spectrum.

Although there is no cure for autism, and references in medical literature to "overcoming" autism symptoms are few and far between, Roman's mom, Elizabeth Scott, and his pediatrician, Dr. Jacquelynn Longshaw, believed that through much patience and training, Roman could overcome the odds.

VIDEO: Autistic boy improves after moms intensive hands-on therapy.
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"The whole thing was difficult because I was so afraid," Scott said today on "Good Morning America." "I was terrified of losing my son."

Click here to visit ABC News' austism resource center.

Elizabeth Scott first noticed the troubling signs when Roman was only a few months old.

"I could literally start seeing the symptoms overtaking him, and he was beginning to slip away right before my eyes" recalls Scott.

The symptoms progressed Scott says, and pretty soon seemed to affect just about every interaction.

"He couldn't eat without constantly choking on food. He began fixating or staring at ceiling fans, flags and lights. He didn't want to be touched ... and he was afraid to touch a lot of normal objects, everyday objects like bubbles, Play-Doh, even rain," Scott remembered.

It didn't take long before these symptoms had a name: pervasive developmental disorder, a type of autism that delays development and socialization.

"I knew, when they said the "A" word, we were in so much trouble. So, you know, my heart was broken. I was just devastated," said Scott.

While she may have been devastated on the inside, Scott did not want to retreat in fear or wait and see. She promptly quit her teaching job to spend her days with Roman, full-time, for three years to try to lure him away from his symptoms and teach him new thought patterns and skills.

Drills Teach Roman Slowly

Using a program of nearly 80 different drills, techniques the therapist had taught her, and a lot of motherly patience and creativity, Roman slowly started to show signs of improvement.

"Roman was afraid to take a shower or stand in the rain. To overcome that, I would take handfuls of water, and I would sprinkle it over his head while he was in the bathtub. And then, I progressed to a cup of water. In about two months, he could tolerate the water coming down on his face," Scott said.

From there Roman continued to show signs of improvement.

"After about four months, I started seeing a couple of the symptoms go away. I'm like, wow, he's not ... he's not rolling his hands anymore," Scott recalled of her awe at the symptoms disappearing.

And it wasn't just Elizabeth Scott who was amazed. Longshaw, Romans doctor, said she was not entirely sure how or what changed inside Roman but said that "had [Elizabeth Scott] not done what she did then ... he would not be at the point where he is today."

Scott has co-written a book about her experience with Roman and the techniques she used, called Autism Recovery Manual of Skills and Drills.

"When he fixated on objects, I would replace the negative behaviors with something meaningful," Scott said. "I would redirect anything negative to something positive."

Roman Scott, now 8, said on "GMA" that he enjoyed playing basketball and soccer, and "to take apart computers and put them back together again."

ABC News senior health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser said Roman's journey "is just a wonderful story."

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