When a child is diagnosed with autism it can be extremely overwhelming, and deciding what treatment path to follow can be a daunting decision to make. There are various treatment options available and this article will be discussing ABA therapy for autism treatment.
ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) therapy uses principles based on behaviour analysis to produce practical change to issues that are of social importance. This includes helping a child with autism in terms of learning, social interaction, family life and any other area that are of social relevance. The core principle of ABA is that if a behaviour is followed by a desirable consequence, that specific behaviour will occur more often in the future and if a behaviour is followed by an undesirable consequence, that behaviour will occur less often in the future.
ABA therapy for autism treatment is one of the most popular treatments for autism. This is due to many reasons, one of them being that it is a research driven field. New research is constantly being generated that increases the efficacy of ABA. ABA therapy as a treatment for autism is proven to have measurable effects on specific outcomes for children with Autism. It also starts with clear measurable goals and is implemented in a consistent way by every ABA therapist. ABA therapy for autism treatment can be seen as a “gold standard” as ABA has very concrete goals and success can be easily measured as data is taken on everything done in ABA therapy sessions.
ABA therapy focusses on two aspects, which is skill acquisition as well as behavioural management. Children with autism often have challenging behaviour and with behavioural management ABA aims to reduce those challenging behaviours and instead teach them an appropriate alternative behaviour. ABA therapy is also effective in building a child’s skill repertoire through skill acquisition. Skills are increased over the following 8 domains: Social, Play, Adaptive, Motor, Language, Academic, Cognition and Executive functions.
There are many treatment options for children with Autism but according to research for optimal outcomes it is advised for a child to receive ABA as main treatment. It needs to be intensive which is between 30 – 40 hours a week. The earlier the child starts with treatment the better, and for optimal outcomes they need to start before the age of 4. It also needs to be long term treatment plan (at least 2 years).
With that being said, it is true that some ABA therapy is better than no ABA therapy and hope is never lost. There is always hope for a child with Autism to make progress, to grow, to learn new skills and to lead a functional, meaningful life. “Autism is not a tragedy. Ignorance is the tragedy.”