April is Autism Awareness Month and this Thursday is World Autism Day. You are bound to see a lot of articles on the topic throughout the month. I will post the ones that I think are helpful to parents. This one talks about ABA therapy and why a lot of parents say it really helps their kids in social situations. Is you have a child with autism, let us know what works for your son/daughter by posting a comment.
While ABA encompasses a broad range of practices of studying and changing behavior, the one usually associated with autism is called discrete trial instruction. A trial consists of a cue, the opportunity to respond and a reward.
Analysts examine progress based on such data at least once a day -- sometimes five or six times a day -- and will change the treatment plan if necessary. In Ryan's case, a trial begins when his clinical specialist takes him near the elevator and asks him to hand over a card -- his way of requesting access to the elevator. If Ryan gives the card, he gets to go to the elevator, and that is the end of one trial. If he does not, his helpers walk him away, and a new trial begins.
ABA is very effective, but the term "cure" is inaccurate, experts said. Autism describes a broad range of characteristics, not an underlying cause, Call said. ABA techniques can produce significant behavior changes, however.
The therapy has evolved since then, however. In the beginning, the approach to ABA was more dogmatic and "cookie-cutter," Wiznitzer said. A child who cooperated got a reward, but a child who did not cooperate got a punishment such as yelling or a squirt of water.
Today, many analysts who use ABA as a guide go more with the flow of the needs of the child, he said.