Applied behavioral analysis (ABA) can be effective in helping manage autism and lessen its effects. In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, we are providing education to the community.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, autism affects one out of every 100 children. Although no cure for this chronic condition exists, ABA can help children learn to communicate more effectively, develop relationships with others and better care for themselves.
Autism falls under the category of pervasive developmental disorders, which are generally characterized by developmental delays in the areas of socialization, communication and behavior. As opposed to milder forms of pervasive developmental disorders in the autism spectrum, such as Asperger’s syndrome, autism causes delays in all three of these areas, as well as in the development of spoken language. Children with autism generally experience notable delays as early as 12 months to 18 months and typically experience symptoms before age 3. Autism is always a symptom with multiple causes. An attempt to determine the cause of autism in each affected child is essential to determine adequate treatment.
Helping All Children Reach Their Full Potential
ABA has been used as a treatment for autism since the 1960s and is based on the science of behavior analysis, which takes into consideration behavior, actions and skills; learning; and how the environment and social situations can be influenced by behaviors. ABA techniques can be applied in group settings, such as school or social engagements; home settings; and one-on-one instruction.
Many experts agree that autism treatment is most effective when intervention begins early—generally before age 4. Because every child with autism has his or her own unique set of needs, ABA treatment plans are developed on an individual basis. A typical ABA therapy program may include activities to address skills such as reading, communicating, listening, properly focusing attention and understanding how to see things from other children’s perspectives.
While every child responds differently to intervention, clinical studies have indicated that children who participate in intensive ABA therapy—defined as 25 to 40 hours of intervention each week—experience greater success in mastering skills than children who participate in other forms of treatment. Studies also say parents of autistic children who participate in intensive ABA therapy report lower levels of stress. If your child or the child of a friend or loved one has autism, ABA therapy may be beneficial.
Call 317.338.KIDS or go to peytonmanning.stvincent.org for more information.
Reviewed by Fernando Escobar, M.D., M.S., medical director, medical genetics and newborn follow-up, staff neonatologist, Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St.Vincent.
The above article in no way seeks to serve as a substitute for professional medical advice or care. Please consult your child’s primary care provider regarding any and all information contained therein.