What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Treating Autism With Aba
While applied behavior analysis is a common treatment for autism in the United States, it has a number of detractors. ABA is supposed to help with social skills and communication. Some parents believe that it prevents their child from being who they are.
Related resource: Top 20 Applied Behavior Analysis Bachelors Degree and BCaBA Coursework Programs
How Aba Therapy Works
In the last five years, ABA therapy has become increasingly popular. In the District of Columbia and 38 states, private insurance companies are required by law to offer the treatment for people with autism.
The therapy originally began in 1961. At the time, Dr. Ole Ivar Lovaas was working at the UCLA psychology department. The treatment that Dr. Lovaas developed gradually turned into the Lovaas Model of Applied Behavior Analysis. The idea behind ABA is operant conditioning.
Operant conditioning works by changing the consequences of specific behaviors. By doing this, psychologists hope to change the actual behavior. During therapy, the psychologist records what happens before a behavior and what occurs after the behavior. Then, this information is used to design changes in consequences for the individual.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 59 children are on the autism spectrum. In 2012, only 1 in 68 children were diagnosed with autism. Since 2000, the number of children with autism has increased by nearly triple.
What Should Someone Consider Before Becoming An Aba Therapist
Many ABA Therapists have less traditional work hours and even though the work is rewarding, it is also challenging. Individuals considering pursuing a profession in ABA therapy should network with other people in the field and develop a professional support system to share information and best practices. Having a network of friends/colleagues who are ABA therapists is incredibly important in ensuring your professional success and job satisfaction.
You May Like: Autistic Puzzle Piece Symbol
Aba Psychology And Autism
Autism spectrum disorder is more common than most people realize, affecting approximately 1 in 54 children throughout the United States. The Health Resources and Services Administration , which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services , places that number even higher, estimating a figure closer to 1 in 40, or about 1.5 million U.S. children. And, while boys are over four times more likely than girls to be diagnosed, ASD is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
With so many children and families affected, finding effective ASD treatments is a priority for healthcare providers. One of the most common methods of treatment is known as applied behavioral analysis : a system of behavioral therapy in which positive behaviors are reinforced through rewards, while negative behaviors are discouraged by the withholding of rewards. There are also several subcategories of ABA therapy, including Discrete Trial Training and Pivotal Response Training .
Aba First Came On The Scene In A Very Different Time
Applied Behavior Analysis is different from other methods because its focused on just one thing: Changing a persons behavior. There have been many peer-reviewed studies over the years that prove the effectiveness of ABA. Its been around for decades and had great success in the autism community.
But just like many things in life, ABA has its champions and its contenders. When it was first named by Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas almost a half century ago, it was also a time when electroconvulsive shock therapy was still in use, the human genetic code was sci fi, and kids with autism were often institutionalized. Today EST has been eliminated, the human genetic code has been cracked, and toddlers are no longer sent to live in asylums.
The Rise of Pseudoscience Cures
Because ABA was founded so long ago, some may consider the basis of the science to be outdated, and its methods antiquated. They opt instead for current pseudoscience claims and cures. According to physicist Robert Park, pseudoscience is represented by claims that are supposedly made from well-established scientific evidence. Often, however, the evidence can be misinterpreted, misunderstood, or completely missing altogether.
Also Check: Is The Good Doctor Actor Really Autistic
What Is Aba Therapy For Autism
Before proceeding to treatment, many caregivers want to know: what is ABA therapy for autism? ABA is a science-backed, intensive approach to improving social behavior among children with autism. Its the most common therapy for autism in the United States, and its main goals are to develop new skills, refine learned skills, and reduce problem behaviors.
Through ABA therapy, children learn which behaviors are appropriate for which situation by breaking down desirable behaviors into steps. Children are rewarded as they complete each step.
At Therapeutic Pathways, our Board Certified clinical staff develop specific, achievable goals for each child. Our registered behavior technicians work directly with each child, helping them meet their individualized goals. Before therapy begins, we meet with each childs parents to discuss a treatment plan based on their childs strengths, weaknesses, and challenges.
Because every child with autism has different interests and abilities, we tailor individual goals to appropriately challenge the child without making him or her feel discouraged. Some of the skills that we help children develop through ABA therapy for autism include:
- Social skills
Sensory Integration And Related Therapies
Many children with ASD have sensory problems. Some are overly sensitive to stimuli such as lights, noises, and touch. Others are not sensitive enough.
There are a number of therapies that have been successful at treating children with autism spectrum disorder. Although these therapies can help, there is no scientific documentation that sensory therapies are effective in treating the disorder.
Therapists skilled in conducting sensory therapy for ASD work one-on-one with a child. The goal is to help regulate the childâs reaction to external stimuli.
For example, if the child is hypersensitive to being touched, the therapist will work to desensitize the child over time. The therapist might firmly stroke the child’s skin with different textured fabrics to get them accustomed to the sensations.
The therapist strives to make the activities enjoyable and game-like for the child. That way, sensory therapy does not become overwhelming for them. They’re not forced to do anything, but the therapist pushes their boundaries to help them improve.
Various sensory therapies can be used to address a variety of problems that affect children with ASD. For example, spinning in a chair can reduce hyperactivity in some children. Other sensory therapies may include swinging, vibration therapy, and aerobic exercise.
Recommended Reading: How To Make A Visual Schedule For Autism
Exploring Why Aba Therapy Is Or Isnt The Best Treatment For Autism
ABA Therapy is a hot topic in 2018, having occasionally made local news, and even national headlines for the past several years.
Part of the reason for the recent surge in buzz surrounding the therapy and its namesake field has been increasing Autism awareness.
Insurance covers ABA Therapy by law in most states. In the state of California, ABA Therapy is the only autism therapy covered by insurance. Parents in the state must pay out of pocket if they wish to pursue an alternative treatment besides ABA Therapy.
This leads to an important question:
Is it smart to use ABA Therapy for Autism?
While ABA is currently the most effective way of treating a variety of common but life-disrupting disorders, how effective is it for Autism?
What Is Applied Behaviour Analysis Used For
The Applied Behaviour Analysis approach and its techniques can be used to help autistic children improve their social skills, self-care skills, communication skills, play skills and ability to manage their own behaviour. It can also help reduce difficult behaviour like inattention, aggression and screaming.
Recommended Reading: Where To Get Tested For Autism
The Success Rates Of Aba Therapy For Autism
When looking into applied behavior analysis therapy for your child, you will read that this treatment approach is objective and evidence-based. The treatment approach was developed to gather measurable evidence on clients success meeting specific treatment goals, but does this mean the program is successful?
Despite some past controversies, the medical research in 2021 shows that modern approaches to ABA therapy are very successful for most people with autism. ABA therapy is affirmed by the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the U.S. Surgeon General as a valid evidence-based therapy for autism.
Where Does Aba Treatment Come From
ABA was first developed by Ivar Lovaas based on the work of B.F. Skinner. Early forms of ABA included using reinforcement and punishment, but ABA no longer utilizes punishment as part of its application. Today, data is taken on every response and any behavior the individual may be exhibiting. The data is collected throughout the day and is used to drive ongoing interventions.
Don’t Miss: Is Level 2 Autism High Functioning
Why Is Aba Therapy So Widely Useful
Theres basic premise of ABA Therapy is fairly simple: Desired behaviors can be taught through simple systems of rewards and consequences. Likewise, harmful behaviors can be phased out through the same simple systems.
Everything from addictive tobacco product use to dysfunctional social habits can be the subject of ABA Therapy.
What Are The Questions That I Need To Ask About Aba Therapy
ABA is not cheap in fact, one ABA session can cost an average of $120. Fortunately, Applied Behavior Analysis is covered by most insurance plans. It is covered by Medicaid for children under 21 years old and with a doctors recommendation. Note that this policy may vary according to where you live.
Before choosing an ABA therapy center, you can ask these questions first to help you make an informed decision:
- What type of insurance do you accept?
- How many applied behavioral therapists and BCBAs do you have?
- How many therapists will be working with my child?
- How do you manage safety concerns?
- How do you determine the goals for my child? Do you consider input from parents?
- How is progress evaluated?
- How many hours per week can you provide?
- Do you have a waiting list?
ABA is not for every child on the spectrum. It is, therefore, your responsibility to do proper research and talk to professionals before choosing this treatment for your child.
Read Also: What Is The Symbol For Autism
How Does Aba Therapy Work
Applied Behavior Analysis involves many techniques for understanding and changing behavior. ABA is a flexible treatment:
Can be adapted to meet the needs of each unique person
- Provided in many different locations at home, at school, and in the community
- Teaches skills that are useful in everyday life
- Can involve one-to-one teaching or group instruction
Positive reinforcement is one of the main strategies used in ABA.
When a behavior is followed by something that is valued , a person is more likely to repeat that behavior. Over time, this encourages positive behavior change.
First, the therapist identifies a goal behavior. Each time the person uses the behavior or skill successfully, they get a reward. The reward is meaningful to the individual examples include praise, a toy or book, watching a video, access to playground or other location, and more.
Positive rewards encourage the person to continue using the skill. Over time this leads to meaningful behavior change.
Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence
Understanding antecedents and consequences is another important part of any ABA program.
The following three steps the A-B-Cs help us teach and understand behavior:
A resulting behavior: this is the persons response or lack of response to the antecedent. It can be an action, a verbal response, or something else.
Looking at A-B-Cs helps us understand:
Daycare Aba Therapy Model
We are proud to partner with many wonderful daycares throughout the state of Georgia. Our ABA therapists and BCBAs work alongside the client to work on both DTT and NET programs. Our therapist will create a schedule with enough 1:1 and natural environment teaching time. This depends on your childs needs. Our goal is to help mainstream your child into a daycare setting.
Don’t Miss: Is Stuttering A Sign Of Autism
Each Session Is Guided By Two Principles
Antecedent response consequence
ABA is based in cause and effect. Children respond to a therapists request, and the therapist guides them toward positive, long-lasting behavioral change.
We can all agree that people like rewardsand children arent any different. Over time, the positive encouragement your child experiences reinforces meaningful progress.
The Controversy Over Autisms Most Common Therapy
Applied behavioral analysis is the most widely used therapy for autism, but some people say its drills and routines are cruel, and its aims misguided.
by Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn / 10 August 2016
When Lisa Quinones-Fontanezs son Norrin was diagnosed with autism at age 2, she and her husband did what most parents in their position do they scrambled to form a plan to help their child.
Ultimately, they followed the experts advice. They put Norrin in a school that used applied behavioral analysis, or ABA, the longest-standing and best-established form of therapy for children with autism. They also hired an ABA therapist to direct a home program.
ABA involves as much as 40 hours a week of one-on-one therapy. Certified therapists deliver or oversee the regimen, organized around the childs individual needs developing social skills, for instance, and learning to write a name or use the bathroom. The approach breaks desirable behaviors down into steps and rewards the child for completing each step along the way.
ABA was tough on everyone at first, says Quinones-Fontanez: He would cry sitting at the table during those sessions, hysterically cry. I would have to walk out of the room and turn on the faucet to tune it out because I couldnt hear him cry.
I credit ABA with helping him in a way that I could not, Quinones-Fontanez says. Especially in those first few years, I dont even know where we would have been without ABA therapy.
Read Also: Does James Holzhauer Have Asperger’s
Building Skills For Every
âSocially significant behavioursâ include reading, academics, social skills, communication, and adaptive living skills. Adaptive living skills include gross and fine motor skills, eating and food preparation, toileting, dressing, personal self-care, domestic skills, time and punctuality, money and value, home and community orientation, and work skills.
Exploring The Controversy Around Aba Therapy
As a parent of a child with autism, you are likely to have heard the term Applied Behavior Analysis therapy. You are also likely to be aware that there are many controversies surrounding ABA therapy and these are well worth exploring.
The aim of this article is to provide parents with the latest research on what ABA is, the strategies ABA therapists might include in a childs program, and to discuss the efficacy of these methods. Another goal for this article is to compare examples of ABA as good practice therapy versus the ABA therapy horror stories of some approaches. Ideally, this will provide you, as the parent and the true expert of your child, with unbiased information to make a decision for his/her therapy path.
Although ABA has received accolades from many renowned professionals through scientific journal articles, there is always room to explore the evolution of understanding what therapy works and if this might be outdated or against the philosophy of what we now know about autism.
You May Like: Diy Visual Schedule
Recommended Reading: Is Dr Shaun Murphy Really Autistic
Example Of An Aba Session Schedule
This is an example of an ABA session for a child with limited verbal language skills and difficulty with social interactions. Assuming he attends a four-hour ABA session five days per week and his sessions are from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Please note that this is only an example. Actual session will vary depending on several factors.
- 1:00-1:15: Pairing , Preference assessment
Reduce Or Even Eliminate Undesirable Behaviours
The third reason is that living with autism behaviours can be very hard on the family. ABA can help reduce, replace, or even eliminate undesirable behaviours of any kind . This can dramatically improve the quality of family life and the lower stress levels in parents. A strong, healthy family is the best gift we can give a child with autism.
Also Check: What Is The Life Expectancy Of People With Autism
What Were Talking About When We Talk About Aba
ABA has a theoretical basis in behaviourism, which considers peoples behaviour to largely be a result of conditioning. In other words, people learn how to respond to different situations according to whether they receive positive or negative feedback. ABA applies this theory to study an individuals behavioural patterns and then design and implement specific interventions with the goal of improving socially significant behaviour to a meaningful degree, according to a task force commissioned by the Ontario Association for Behaviour Analysis in 2017. ABA has become synonymous with autism treatment, but it is used in many other fields, including dementia, psychiatry and even sports.
According to ONTABAs definition, all forms of ABA must be closely monitored by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst , and be subject to ongoing data collection, analysis, and modification.
Developed And Presented By Dr Suzanne Jacobsen
Can be viewed by request.
Parents are often unsure when or if to tell their child they have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. This introductory workshop presents three considerations:
- Why you tell your child
- When to tell your child
- What to tell your child
Time will be allocated for sharing concerns or ideas regarding the wisdom of telling the child considering the unique qualities of each child. After attending you should have an understanding of the importance of including your child in understanding the diagnosis of ASD and have direction about the appropriate time and way to begin the discussion.
To find out more information on this workshop, please contact or call 604-232-4122
Also Check: What Does Mild Autism Mean