Danielle after a year and a half of living with Bernie and Diane Lierow

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During the year and a half that Danielle has lived with Bernie and Diane, they say she's come a long way.

Diane says Danielle can now use the bathroom on her own and has learned to use a fork. "For her to be able to actually fork her own food off of her plate and eat it, it took quite a while," Diane says. "Gradually, she got to the point where, at home at least, she doesn't overeat."

Unlike before, Diane says Danielle rarely has temper tantrums. "She smiles and laughs and just seems really happy and content," she says.

Danielle has also grown to love certain activities, like swimming. "She likes to do flips and somersaults underwater," Diane says. "She has a lot of sensory-seeking behaviors, and she likes to go down to the bottom of the pool and feel the deep pressure of the water on her."

As much progress as Danielle has made, Diane says she is less developed in some areas than others. "She has spoken a few words, but if she says something, you don't know if you'll ever hear it again," she says. "They're in there somewhere, but it's as if her brain can't connect to where she's stored them because it's not been developed properly.