Every parent of an autistic child knows how stressful and challenging it might be to cope with their own child sometimes. The common dream of all of them is to be able to spend time with their children in a fun, engaging and creative way, while reducing the behavior that is troubling, potentially dangerous and genuinely scary. According to World Health Organization, one in 160 children is diagnosed with the autism spectrum disorder.
As the number of children diagnosed with ADS has been increasing lately, so has the interest for the best therapeutic approach. One of the most successful treatments is definitely ABA. Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is the most common treatment for people diagnosed with autism. The treatment is carried out by carefully observing a child, documenting its behaviors and conducting the interviews with parents, and others who have an important role in the child’s life. After collecting the information, an applied behavioral therapist eventually creates an ABA treatment plan. A ABA treatment plan refers to numerous procedures designed to increase positive behaviors, teach new skills, and reduce behaviors that are harmful for learning. The therapy usually includes 40 hours of one-on-one personalized therapy, which applied behavioral analysts design to treat specific skill deficits such as classroom competence or speech problems.
The therapy consists of breaking down some skills into simple, achievable steps which could be learned easier that way. ABA therapy is very comfortable for children, allowing them to learn in a fun, engaging and dynamic way. Parental involvement is crucial for ABA treatment success. Parents are supposed to be working with teachers and therapists to identify their child’s behaviors that should be changed, and also new skills that should be taught.
In addition to this, parents have another important role when it comes to ABA treatment –after working with a therapist for a certain number of hours, a child continues working with his parent. Because of that, ABA treatment includes teaching the parents of an autistic child some new skills that will help them continue the work done by the therapist, and help their child. This is also a valuable experience for both parents and the child, because it allows them to connect in a more engaging way. ABA treatment is a big hope for bettering the lives of families challenged with this kind of disorder. In the world of autism, ABA treatment is widely accepted because it has showed great results. A well known study done by Ivar O.
Lovaas in 1987, indicated that after doing 40 hours of ABA therapy a week for several years, as high as 90% of participants showed significant improvements. Some of them even managed to develop a normal intellectual functioning. This model was based on a system of positive and negative reinforcements, in order to amplify appropriate behaviors and discourage inappropriate ones.
Social skills were broken down into separate, learnable units. (Hand-washing, for example, would be taught as a series of steps — turning on the faucet, using the soap, drying the hands — and mastered individually.) Eventually, as an outcome of the training, the autistic child might progress from learning a simple task like sitting quietly in a chair to more difficult ones like making eye contact and, ultimately, speaking freely and intelligibly.