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ABA Therapy and The Future of Autism

Empower

Are you a parent of a child with Autism, who’s looking for the best possible treatment options?

 

Are you a healthcare professional who’s dedicated to helping children with Autism, to reach their full potential?

 

Are you simply someone who wants to learn more about the cutting-edge therapies that are shaping the future of Autism Treatment?

 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you’re in the right place.

 

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy is a widely used treatment approach for individuals with Autism, and there is evidence to support its effectiveness in improving a range of skills and behaviors. Personalized ABA Therapy involves tailoring the intervention to the individual needs of the child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Here are a few examples of evidence-based, personalized treatment options with benefits of ABA Therapy:

Functional Communication Training (FCT):

Functional Communication Training (FCT) is an evidence-based intervention that targets communication deficits in ASD individuals. The goal of FCT is to teach the individual an alternative, functional form of communication, to replace problem behaviors like aggression, tantrums, or self-injury that they may be using to get their needs met.

ABA Therapy and The Future of Autism

Here's an example of how FCT might work:

Suppose an ASD child becomes aggressive (e.g., hitting, biting) when they want a particular toy, but they do not have the language skills to ask for it verbally. The first step in FCT is to identify the function of the behavior (i.e., the reason the child is engaging in the behavior). In this case, the function of the aggression is to obtain the toy.
Once the function of the behavior is identified, the therapist will teach the child an alternative, functional form of communication that will help them achieve the same goal (i.e., obtaining the toy) in a more appropriate way. For example, the therapist might teach the child to use a Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) or a Tablet-based Communication App to ask for the toy.
The therapist will begin by pairing the communication method with the desired object, so that the child learns to associate the picture or word with the toy they want. The therapist will also model the appropriate use of the communication method and prompt the child to use it.
Over time, the therapist will gradually fade prompts and increase the level of difficulty, so that the child learns to use the communication method independently. The therapist will also provide positive reinforcement (e.g., praise, tokens, or access to preferred activities) to encourage the child to use the communication method, instead of engaging in problem behaviors. FCT should be tailored to the needs and preferences of each child. For example, some children may prefer to use a Tablet-based Communication App, while others may prefer a PECS. The communication method should also be selected based on the child’s communication abilities and needs. FCT must be delivered by a qualified therapist who is trained in the principles of ABA and uses evidence-based practices. The benefits of ABA therapy is promising.

Naturalistic Teaching Strategies:

Naturalistic Teaching Strategies are a type of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) intervention that focuses on embedding learning opportunities into the natural environment and daily routines of ASD individuals. The goal is to help the individual learn new skills and behaviors in a way that is motivating, functional, and relevant to their everyday life. Here are some examples of Naturalistic Teaching Strategies:

Incidental Teaching:
Incidental Teaching involves using the individual’s interests and natural environment to teach new skills. For example, if an ASD child is playing with a toy car, the therapist might use the car to teach language skills, such as requesting (“I want car”), labeling (“car”), or describing (“fast car”). The therapist will use the car to teach social skills, such as turn-taking or sharing.
Mand-model:
Mand-model is a teaching strategy that involves prompting the individual to make a request (mand) for something they want or need, and then modeling the appropriate language or behavior. For example, if a child with Autism is hungry, the therapist might prompt the child to say “I want snack” or use a communication device to request a snack. The therapist would then model the correct language and give the child, the snack.

Pivotal Response Training (PRT):

PRT is a naturalistic teaching strategy that focuses on teaching “Pivotal” skills, such as motivation, self-regulation, and initiation, which can have a positive impact on a range of other skills. For example, the therapist might use a game or toy that the child is highly motivated to play with, and use it as a tool to teach pivotal skills. The therapist might use the game to teach turn-taking, sharing, and social communication.
Time Delay:
Time Delay is a teaching strategy that involves gradually increasing the amount of time between a prompt and the response. For example, if the therapist is teaching the child to name colors, the therapist might start by showing the child a red object and asking “What color is this?” with no delay. Then, the therapist might gradually increase the delay between the question and the response, so that the child has to wait longer before giving their answer.
Naturalistic Teaching Strategies should always be delivered by a qualified therapist who is trained in the principles of ABA and uses evidence-based practices.

Parent-implemented Interventions:

Parent-implemented Interventions are evidence-based treatments that involve teaching parents or caregivers to deliver behavioral interventions to their ASD child in the home or community setting. The goal of Parent-implemented Interventions is to improve the child’s social communication, behavior, and development, while also increasing the parent’s confidence and competence in managing their child’s needs.

Here are some examples of Parent-implemented Interventions:

Discrete Trial Training (DTT):
DTT is a structured intervention that teaches skills through repetition and reinforcement. In Parent-implemented DTT, parents are taught to use a structured teaching format that breaks down skills into smaller steps and uses prompts and reinforcement to teach each step. For example, a parent might teach their child to identify colors by showing them a red object and prompting them to say “red,” and then reinforcing the correct response with a preferred item or activity. ,

Joint Attention Mediated Learning (JAML):

JAML is an intervention that aims to improve joint attention, which is the ability to share attention with others and communicate about shared experiences. In Parent-implemented JAML, parents learn to use strategies such as following the child’s lead, commenting on the child’s focus of attention, and using gestures and vocalizations to encourage joint attention. For example, a parent might comment on a child’s focus of attention (“Oh, you’re looking at the bird!”) and then use a gesture or vocalization to encourage the child to share their attention and communicate about the bird.

Social Communication, Emotional Regulation, and Transactional Support (SCERTS):

SCERTS is a comprehensive intervention that focuses on Social Communication, Emotional Regulation, and Transactional Support. In Parent-implemented SCERTS, parents learn to use strategies such as visual supports, social narratives, and emotional regulation techniques to support their child’s development. For example, a parent might use a social story to prepare their child for a new experience or use a visual support to help their child understand the sequence of activities during a daily routine.

Parent-implemented Interventions are evidence-based treatments that can be effective in improving the social communication, behavior, and development of children with Autism, while also supporting and empowering parents in their role as caregivers. The interventions should always be delivered by a qualified therapist who is trained in the principles of ABA and uses evidence-based practices. The therapist should work closely with the family, to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets their unique needs and goals.

Conclusion

ABA Therapy has emerged as one of the most effective and evidence-based treatments for individuals with Autism. As we look towards the Future of Autism Treatment, there is no doubt that ABA Therapy will continue to play a critical role in helping individuals with Autism, to reach their full potential.

With the ongoing research and development in the field of ABA, we can expect to see even more personalized and effective interventions that are tailored to the unique needs and strengths of each individual. From Naturalistic Teaching Strategies to Parent-implemented Interventions, there are a wide range of evidence-based approaches that can help ASD individuals to learn new skills and improve their communication. Contact Empower Therapy Today.

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