“Autism & ABA” – (Applied Behavior Analysis)
By: Ramel Costales
Behavioral Therapist / Physical Therapist
Autism or ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is a neuro-developmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior.
Parents usually notice signs in the first two years of their child’s life. This signs often develop gradually though some children with autism reached their developmental milestones at a normal pace and then regress.
Children with autism have social impairments and often lack the intuition about others that many children take for granted. Infants with autism show less attention to stimuli, smile and look at others less often, and respond less to their own name. Toddlers with autism differ more strikingly from social norms; for example, they have less eye contact and turn-taking, and do not have the ability to use simple movements to express themselves, such as pointing at things.
About a third to a half of individuals with autism do not develop enough natural speech to meet their daily communication needs. Some children use hand-leading instead of pointing-at object, unusual gestures and even crying and tantrums for their requests.
Restricted and repetitive behaviors are common among those who have autism. Stereotyped behaviors are repetitive movements such as hand flapping, head rolling and body rocking. Compulsive behaviors on the other hand, are time consuming behaviors intended to reduce anxiety that an individual feels compelled to perform repeatedly or according to rigid rules, such as placing objects in a specific order, checking things, or hand washing. Restricted behaviors are those interests or fixations that are abnormal in theme or intensity of focus, such as preoccupation with a single television program, toy, or game. Self-Injurious behaviors include eye-poking, skin-picking, hand-biting, and head banging.
The primary goals of treatment are to maximize the child’s ultimate functional independence and quality of life by minimizing the core autism spectrum disorder features, facilitating development and learning, promoting socialization, reducing maladaptive behaviors, and educating and supporting families. A variety of specific methodologies are used in educational programs for children with ASD. These include ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis), TEACCH, OT, and Speech and Language Therapy to name some. Three studies that compared intensive ABA programs (25– 40 hours/week) to equally intensive eclectic approaches have suggested that ABA programs were significantly more effective.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the process of applying interventions that are based on the principles of learning derived from experimental psychology research to systematically change behavior and to demonstrate that the interventions used are responsible for the ob- servable improvement in behavior. ABA methods are used to increase and maintain desirable adaptive behaviors, reduce interfering maladaptive behaviors or narrow the conditions under which they occur, teach new skills, and generalize behaviors to new environments or situations. ABA focuses on the reliable measurement and objective evaluation of observable behavior within relevant settings including the home, school, and community. The effectiveness of ABA-based intervention in ASDs has been well documented through 5 decades of research.
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APPLE-CBS caters ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) services to children with autism since 2012. Individualized Educational Programs are entirely based on Developmental Pediatrician’s recommendations, Program Manager’s assessment and parent’s concerns. Professionally trained and caring individuals are available for In-Home and Center-based therapy anywhere in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
For more details, please contact +63 (927) 876-9205.
Management of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders Scott M. Myers and Chris Plauché Johnson
Pediatrics 2007;120;1162; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2007-2362