Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a popular intervention approach for individuals with disabilities, especially young children with autism. This would be my research project. I have observed this therapy first hand and and have seen numerous success stories. Funded is limited, but necessary to reach children on the spectrum.
Here is a wonderful success story using ABA Therapy:
|Let’s Hear It for Research that Benefits Children and Families!!!!!|
Recently a follow-up story was done on a little boy who was as part of an ABA therapy team), and other therapists have been working with for two and a half years. They started when he was three. When we first met him he has a home program of 20-25 hours of ABA a week. He had no expressive or receptive use of language and minor behavioral problems (largely because he didn’t know what was expected of him). He would swipe things off tables, cry and scream sometimes. He also had transition issues when we moved from working at a table, to working on the floor. There were also no age appropriate play skills.
We worked with him on a one-to-one ratio using highly motivated reinforcement helped decrease his frustration levels. We would use food or hand toys to help motivate him to learn. We also used errorless teaching methods to help make him more successful. (The more success they have the less frustrated they are with the therapy).
Within a month he started following simple directions and making sounds. Within six months he was able to label pictures using expressive language. He had a vocabulary of probably twenty words, had developed some age appropriate fine motor skills including puzzles, beads, shapes, orders, etc.
Within nine months he started using a few two word phrases, like “Help me,” or “Open this.” He was able to show a little pretend play skills. He could identify his body parts receptively, and follow two step directions. He was expanding on his pretend play and he was able to transition more appropriately between tasks.
By a year and a half he was able to use three-word phrases, he was potty trained. He was able to play more appropriately with his brother, and his transition issues and behavioral problems were minimal.
So here’s the exciting part. It’s been two and a half years since we have seen them. This child was able to hold a typical conversation with me! He is now going into kindergarten with a shadow ( another person by his side) and won’t need one in first grade. He was awesome. We are very proud of him and his family for keeping the therapy going. Policy makers, “ if you can hear me , the researcher and programs need MONEY!!!”