‘What is Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA)?’
“ Applied Behavioural Analysis is probably the best-known, best researched, and the only treatment for children that has produced significant and comprehensive improvements, up to and including recovery.”
“ABA involves the breakdown of all skills into small, discrete tasks, taught in a highly structured and hierarchical manner … In an ABA program, lessons to be taught are broken down into their simplest elements. ABA focuses on teaching small, measurable units of behaviour systematically.
“At first, the child may be rewarded for doing something close to the desired response. Over time, as the child masters the lesson expectations are raised and primary reinforcers (like bits of food) are replaced with social reinforcers ( hugs, praise, etc.)”
One could be forgiven for thinking they were reading about dog training.
The fact that if the child does what is asked be it placing a puzzle piece, building block or the possibly uncomfortable if not painful task of making forced eye contact to be rewarded by food or physical contact is questionable.
Does that train the child to believe that if an adult commands them to do something no matter how nonsensical to them or uncomfortable they must obey believing they will be rewarded by titbits and pleasurable psychical contact?
Lastly under the heading ‘Is ABA effective?’
“It should be noted, however, that intensive behavioural is by no means a “ cure “ for Autism. No amount of behavioural therapy can cure the underlying and so far unknown etiology of Autism. Intensive behavioural interaction is effective in re mediating many symptoms of autism thereby recovering children in that their behaviour may become “ indistinguishable from their peers.”
Indistinguishable from their peers.
No longer distinguishable.
To close I leave you with the fully accepting parental view of Jane Johnstone.
“In my view once you embrace and accept your children as they are, the journey becomes life changing for everyone. My late husband and I always said that we would be very different people if the boys weren’t Autistic and we honestly believed that they made us better people. Our boys, like other human’s consist of a mind, body and soul. To change or work with just one element just simply cannot be consistent with accepting and respecting the Autistic person as a whole.”
Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed by Autism Daily Newscast Contributors are their own.