Currently, there are more than 300 different types of therapies for children with autism. Not all of them can be wrong. But not all of them are right. These are the thoughts of parents who learn that their child may, or may not, have autism.
The problem here is that the rate of scientific research is extraordinarily slow. Some parents swear by the effectiveness of some kinds of treatment. According to research that doesn’t make them any more effective or risk-free. To make matters worse for parents looking for therapy for their child is that there are quacks offering miracle cures for the condition of autism.
ABA therapy is the benchmark of treatment for autism. Applied behavior analysis is a kind of therapy that maintains that appropriate behavior can be taught through a method of rewards and consequences. The method of applying the rule of rewards and consequences is used to accomplish specific goals. Relatives of the individual and medical professionals need to understand that each person with autism is unique.
Why Is Autism Different?
Most people understand that autism is not a disease it is a condition. Autism affects each person differently. This is the reason why treatment varies on a case-to-case basis. Medical professionals emphasize that autism is a condition that can be altered.
If the proper care is not taken then the condition can get worse. Regularly participating in ABA sessions can help an autistic person improve. It is important to remember that the sessions need to focus on the needs of the person first and foremost. Initially, it might seem like the therapy is counterproductive but changes will happen with persistent efforts.
The First Steps Of ABA Treatment
Any healthcare provider you consult should be a board-certified therapist. These are the only people who have the proper qualifications and authorization to develop a program to help autistic individuals. The medical specialist will conduct what is called a functional behavior assessment (FBA). This will help the medical expert determine the key areas of focus that will be mandatory for the autistic individual.
The assessment might begin with the physician asking you about the strong points and weaknesses of your child. After that, the consultant might have a one-on-one session with the autistic individual to assess the feedback you have provided. Additionally, the therapist might visit your child’s school or home to monitor the events that take place on an average day. The therapist might use the circumstances at home or school to integrate the sessions.
Preparing A Program
The physician will create a plan using the results from the functional behavior assessment based on the individual’s needs. The program will reconcile with the specific demands of the autistic individual. It will have definite goals and objectives based on those needs. The program may also establish particular strategies that can be used by teachers, relatives, or caregivers.
The goals of the program will confront the questionable and perhaps unhealthy behavior of the autistic person. Some of the most common forms of destructive behavior include echolalia, self-injury, outbursts of anger, and any other forms of physically violent attitude. The plan will also help the individual improve their physical and verbal communication skills.
Early Mediation On An Individual Level
There are certain advantages, as far as treatment is concerned, for children who have been diagnosed with autism before five years of age. Early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) can be developed for these children. This includes a comprehensive personalized method of teaching to help the child develop appropriate physical and social communication skills.
EIBI incorporates learning methods into play. The child learns the appropriate skills in a friendly playful environment with the therapist. This is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution as is the case with most educational institutes. Each EIBI program will be specifically designed for a child based on their needs.
The Goals Of ABA Therapy?
The main goal of ABA treatment is to eliminate unaccepted behavior and teach the child normal behavior. For example, if a child habitually throws temper tantrums ABA therapy is used to reduce frequent outbursts. Some children have trouble dealing with crowds and do not behave appropriately in a public setting such as a school playground. These children may not be able to request someone to let them use the slide or the seesaw.
Traditional ABA techniques can be used to teach a child normal behavior in a ‘natural’ setting such as a playground or a local park. ABA therapists will be able to teach the child the way to request someone to let them have their turn on a swing or seesaw. It can also teach them how to greet someone they meet for the first time. Some ABA therapists might be able to take it to the next level by rewarding a child for sharing a toy or properly brushing their teeth.
An ABA therapist might be able to accomplish a great deal as far as confirmative behavior is concerned. But there are some things that an ABA counselor will not be able to achieve very easily. Some of these things are coaching the child to empathize, use their imagination, understand the implicit meanings of words, and teaching scholastic content.
A majority of these factors of learning have to do with the personality of an individual. The counselor can teach the child routine behavior but it takes a remarkable ABA counselor to achieve any of these goals.
Is There Proof That ABA Works?
The American Psychological Association and the US Surgeon General insist that ABA is an evidence-based best method of treatment. The word ‘evidence-based’ means that this technique has been researched. After continuous research ABA techniques are practically effective in comparison to the other methods of treatment. All of the kinds of ABA therapy focused on a system of rewards and consequences.
Over 25 investigations have revealed that concentrated and prolonged forms of counseling with ABA techniques improve the condition for most but not all children with autism. There have been fewer similar investigations on adults. They also show roughly the same results.