We specialize in behavioral consulting and therapy services. Our goal is to provide highly effective treatment for children with autism and their families by following a method scientifically proven to bring clear results. We use Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), a method based on extensive, clinical peer reviewed research. We have been helping families since 2001.
ABA is an experimental treatment and not scientifically demonstrated to be effective.
This about as far from the truth as you can get. Of all the forms of therapy and education that are available for children with autism, ABA is the program that has the most scientific positive data and support for its principles, techniques and overall effectiveness. There are at least a dozen professional journals that are dedicated to the science of ABA, Autism intervention and intellectual disabilities that have published thousands of individual research findings and large group studies. In fact, ABA is currently the only autism therapy recommended for long-term benefit by the United States Surgeon General. As a treatment for autism, Chapter Three of the Surgeon General’s report on Mental Health, 1999, states, “Thirty years of research demonstrated the efficacy of applied behavioral methods in reducing inappropriate behavior and in increasing communication, learning, and appropriate social behavior.”
ABA does not teach a child HOW or WHY to do something; it only trains them to behave in a certain way.
This deals with the mistaken idea that in ABA programs, children are not being taught to be independent thinkers but merely trained to react to stimuli. All learning has some aspect of rote memorization and practiced routine, whether you are in an ABA program, regular school classroom, or simply learning from your parents at home. There are always going to be things that a child is expected to do, “Just because Mom / Dad / Teacher said so.” Additionally, there will always be a behavior we choose without thinking. When discussing “training,” one is generally talking about creating habits of behavior – things we do without thinking about them. However, this fact has nothing to do with ABA but rather how all people learn. Many of our behavior choices in life are reactions and habits. When it is time to brush your teeth you do not think about each of the behaviors used to make that happen (wetting the toothbrush, squeezing the toothpaste, raising your hand to your mouth etc.). These habits have all formed the way they have because guided practice has led to success. Success then leads to repetition. It is true that ABA is very successful in breaking down seemingly simple tasks such as brushing teeth and teaching them in small steps to help a child find success where they might not otherwise. However, the premise that ABA is limited to only teaching this sort of memorized or habitual task is absolutely false.
Just like any form of teaching, a good ABA program needs to be designed to teach to all the needs of the individual. This includes concepts such as complex language, social interaction, problem solving, flexible thinking, and theory of mind (such as understanding things from other people’s perspectives). Although these skills are much more complex in nature, they are not immune to the same behavioral principles that guide all of our learning. The issue then becomes, “how creative and experienced is the person running the ABA program at addressing this sort of learning?” In the early days of ABA, there was less experience addressing these more complex learning processes. Thus, some early ABA programs may have been deficient. However, that was a result of the professional’s inexperience applying the principles and not problems with the principles themselves. The benefit of ABA is that it is a science and therefore progress made anywhere in the world is made available to all through the studies published in scientific journals. Over the past 40 years there have been an uncountable number of breakthroughs and experience gained addressing even the most complex human issues with the principles of ABA. It is important to remember that ABA is the science of what works.
ABA is all table work.
While ABA therapy programs do involve table work, ABA therapy is NOT solely “table work.” The therapy is a comprehensive program which involves time working and playing at the table, away from the table, in the backyard, around the house, in the community, at school, in structured peer play sessions, and anywhere else the child needs to be able to learn and apply skills! ABA also involves a lot of time spent engaged in fun, reinforcing activities to ensure that the child is enjoying therapy time.
What does the research on ABA Therapy show?
Over the past 40 years, a number of peer-reviewed studies have been completed evaluating the effects of using a specific group of ABA techniques in a “comprehensive, individualized, intensive early intervention program for children with autism,” achieving extremely positive results. “Comprehensive” refers to the fact that intervention addressees all types of skills; “Early” means that intervention began before the age of four for most children in many of the studies; and “Intensive” referred to the number of hours / week received by the children (ranges between 25-40 hours per week).
Where does therapy take place?
Therapy can take place in the home, community, or school setting depending on what is appropriate for each child.
Can I, as a parent, be trained to conduct therapy?
Yes! A strong ABA program is one where the parents are highly involved. We train parents to teach ABA therapy techniques to their child in addition to the specific programs their child will be learning. This allows for improved consistency and communication about the child’s program and progress.