Autism Therapy Supported by ABA Therapy

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Therapy is the science in which procedures derived from the principles of behavior are systematically applied to a meaningful degree and to demonstrate experimentally that the procedures employed were responsible for the improvement in behavior.

  • Applied Behavior Analysis includes the design, implementation, and evaluation of environmental modifications to produce socially significant improvement in human behavior.
  • Also known by the acronym “ABA”, it includes the use of direct observation, measurement, and functional analysis of the relations between environment and behavior.
  • This analysis utilizes antecedent stimuli and consequences, based on the findings of descriptive and functional analysis, to produce practical change.
  • ABA methods increase behaviors, such as systematic instruction and reinforcement procedures to teach functional life skills, communication skills, or social skills.
  • In addition, ABA methods maintain behaviors, generalize or transfer behavior from one situation or response to another and reduce interfering behaviors.

ABA can be used to treat a variety of disorders, however, it is particularly useful for treating Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

The following disorders are all related to Autism and individuals are sometimes referred to as being autistic, although technically they can be any of the following:

  • Autistic Disorder – This is characterized by impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, unusual repetitive or severely limited activities and interests.
  • Asperger’s Syndrome – There are fewer developmental delays than typical autism, more of a social skill disorder with fixations. Some people call it high-functioning autism.
  • Rett’s Syndrome – Females are often at risk for this syndrome. Females with Rett’s develop normally at first but then experience a deceleration in head growth. They lose previously acquired hand skills, social interaction, poor physical coordination and severe impairment in expressive and receptive language, in addition to symptoms of typical autism.
  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder – Also known as Heller’s Disease, rarer than autism, differences- childhood develops normally for at least for the first two years then regression occurs before age 10. Autism-regression tends to begin between the first and second year of life.
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) – This is normally less severe than typical autism. It doesn’t fit well within any category. It is a severe and pervasive delay in development as well as social interaction.
  • Autism Characteristics (Used To Diagnose Autism)

Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:

  • Marked impairment in the use of multiple non-verbal behaviors. For example, eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction.
  • Failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
  • A lack of spontaneity
  • A lack of desire to share enjoyment, interests or achievements with other people. (E.G., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest)

Qualitative impairments in communication as manifested by at least one of the following:

  • The development of spoken language can be delayed or lacked entirely. There can also be little to no attempt to compensate through alternative modes of communication such as gesture or mime.
  • A marked inability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others. This is in regards to individuals who do have adequate speech.
  • Stereotyped and repetitive use of langue or idiosyncratic language
  • Lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play appropriate to developmental level.

Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:

  • Encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus
  • Apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
  • Stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)
  • Persistent preoccupation with parts of objects
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