Did you know that, according to the CDC, approximately 2% of all school age children are now diagnosed with autism? This number has shot up over the past few years, and experts are still not sure why. One part of the puzzle is accurate diagnoses — as the condition becomes more common, it becomes more recognizable to parents and doctors alike. Research seems to have found some links between autism and a child and fetus?s environment, but there is nothing too definitive just yet.
At any rate, there is no ?cure? for autism, though it is a condition that can be managed and treated. Early behavioral intervention with autistic children, for example, can help encourage them to be more social, have an easier time communicating, and be more self-aware.
Exactly What is ABA Therapy — and Could it Help?
Applied behavior analysis therapy, or ABA therapy, is one of the techniques in question. Behavior analysis is concerned with understanding how learning takes place. Over the past 50 years, ABA therapy has made significant gains in understanding how to influence behavior.
Techniques of positive reinforcement, for example, have been developed in such a way that they increase useful behaviors, without interfering with learning or causing harm to the individual. ABA techniques can be used at home, or in a classroom, depending on what is needed — the techniques can be modified to fit the setting and the needs of the patient in question.
Many Organizations Vouch for ABA
Just how reliable is ABA therapy? Although every person — and how they respond to treatment of any sort — is different and results vary, it?s worth noting that numerous trusted organizations have vouched for ABA and its presence in school programs. The U.S. Surgeon General, as well as the New York State Department of Health, have endorsed its usage. APA principles can help autistic children learn basic skillsets such as imitating, listening and looking, in addition to more complex behaviors like understanding peoples? perspective, talking, and reading.
School Programs and ABA
One of the main benefits of sending a child to a special education school is, in fact, the school?s likely expertise in things like ABA therapy. At a typical public school, ABA training would be sporadic at best, and not every teacher is likely going to know how to employ the technique in everyday teachings. For children who display more autistic behaviors than others, a school program especially geared to assist them could have many more longterm benefits.