Advanced search

Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

Anyone wanting to know what ABA is like..

(61 Posts)
sickofsocalledexperts Sat 16-Apr-11 07:44:13

I have written two very personal accounts of what ABA was like for my autistic boy - helping him to talk and behave well, where other methods like TEACCH and traditional speech therapy had failed. Mumsnet towers have allowed me to publish them on my sickofsocalledexperts blog.

If you want to know a bit about ABA from a mum's point of view then do have a look via the blogs tab at the top of mumsnet.

I am really rubbish at doing those link things, but if anyone can help me to do a here thing, so people can click straight to the articles??

Also, it's the second post on my blog as am crap at that too!

willowthecat Sat 16-Apr-11 07:58:50

Thanks ! I feel I am going to agree with everything you say and I have not even read it yet 1

sickofsocalledexperts Sat 16-Apr-11 08:24:38

Oh thanks Willow! I have read your posts and think you probably will!

I should say that the another mumsnetter helped me a lot with one of the articles, she knows who she is but no sure if she wants a full co-credit on here or not!

zzzzz Sat 16-Apr-11 14:49:15

sickof, thanks for this, will be really interested to read it after the weekend.
willow, thanks for the bummy link....I need that stuff!

zzzzz Sat 16-Apr-11 14:49:52

sorry that was supposed to be dummy not bummy blush lol blush

sickofsocalledexperts Sat 16-Apr-11 14:57:00

Thanks zzzzz - apologies it is so long, you might want to print it out to read!

ovenchips Sat 16-Apr-11 16:05:52

Ooh I definitely will have a look, thanks sickof.

willowthecat Sat 16-Apr-11 16:14:12

I tried to leave a comment but the anti spam filter was too determined.

This is what I tried to put

"I once discussed with the Head Teacher at my son's school why we use ABA at home and she immediately responded with I am a big fan of the TEACCH approach myself I asked her why she liked TEACCH and she just looked at me in a slightly baffled way and then warbled for a bit about 'they are all visual learners and you see this is all visual stuff so the visual stuff is the kind of thing they like' The point is that the opposition to ABA is just built on laziness, self justifying nonsense and thin air most of the time."

willowthecat Sat 16-Apr-11 16:15:16

Sorry - HT's stupid sentence should have had own quotes !

sickofsocalledexperts Sat 16-Apr-11 17:46:11

Yes that truism about "all autistic kids are visual learners" drives me crazy. It is used to justify a "one size fits all " approach for a condition (autism) which is as nebulous and multi-faceted as the ocean.

ovenchips Sat 16-Apr-11 19:29:01

Thank you again sickof. Just read it all and it was incredibly interesting. I think I'm starting to 'get' ABA now, as I've struggled to see the practical application of the theory but now it's actually starting to seem like just common sense.

Going to get DH to read it too. We have a consultation with an ABA therapist in few weeks' time. Excited.

sickofsocalledexperts Sat 16-Apr-11 19:37:29

Thanks Ovenchips - I hope your meeting goes well. What gets me is that all the myths and propaganda put out by LA bods about ABA (too adult-centred, too intensive, harmful to "family life" ) is just so the opposite of the truth. It is such a child-centred, and fun way to learn, but it takes every deficit of the autism and works on it systematically. Traditional SALT just doesn't seem fit for purpose, when it comes to the problems autistic kids have. I think SALTs (with a few very honourable exceptions) just apply their same-old "normal" kid speech therapy techniques to autistic kids, and hope for the best. Yet their own industry body recommends they look at ABA. God, our system of educating autistic kids needs a big old shake-up!

specialmusic Sat 16-Apr-11 20:32:43

Excellent post, thank you for sharing it! It is also my experience that children taught with ABA make bigger progress than those educated with TEACCH. ABA takes a lot of dedication though and maybe not everyone is able to take it on at home.

DietcokeGirl Sat 16-Apr-11 20:36:23

Thanks for this, am seriously considering doing ABA with DS1. I have been to a talk with an ABA consultant, have her number, just need to pick up the damn phone and make an appt. I am nervous about it though.

zzzzz Sat 16-Apr-11 23:58:53

Just finnished reading let me hear your voice, and flipping through educate towards recovery. Thank you for your stuff too. Such a lot to think about. Mine has gone from almost no useful language to slow but steady progress at 6, but I am always looking for new ideas/routes in.

sickofsocalledexperts Sun 17-Apr-11 00:04:25

Specialmusic - thx for reading, and i do agree that aba at home is not possible for everyone, which is why i think we shld be incorporating the best aba techniques into our autism schools infrastructure. If we can train in TEACCH we just need to swap that into aba training.
Dietcoke -thx also, and dont be nervous, it will definitely be a gd thing to do and it is not as hard/scary as is sometimes made out.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 17-Apr-11 00:22:18

TBH, you don't need to enrol on a life-time home programme. Just 3 months of doing it as a temporary arrangement will let you know enough to make a difference and give you the opportunity to set up how you will continue i.e. paid tutors intensively/a few hours at the weekend by you/just in the holidays - whatever works for you and fits your child and your family.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 17-Apr-11 00:25:35


That's a great parent account. Perhaps I should do something similar?

To be honest, I've been thinking for some time whether or not I could publish all my correspondence with the LA verbatum, as it tells the story and makes for some pretty horrific reading. No idea about the confidentiality issues though, but I do believe that professionals working in the public sector should be quite prepared for anything they write down to be scrutinised by the public.

sickofsocalledexperts Sun 17-Apr-11 10:34:34

Starlight, it would be great if you could write up an article on your experience of the SEN system. We could try and get it in somewhere. I think that the more "grassroots" accounts we have of ABA getting into the "news flow", the more chance we have of someone up top in govt education waking up and saying "hang on, LAs are being sued for ABA across the UK, shall we do a little study on whether we should bung it in our schools to shut them all up?". That's what would be my wish. Your tribunal story, fights with LA, would make pretty harrowing reading I suspect! PM me if you want to talk offline?

DietcokeGirl Sun 17-Apr-11 12:58:04

Sounds good both of you - much needed in my opinion.

I am going to ring the ABA consultant on Monday. If you remember, please check up on me and make sure I have done it!!

specialmusic Sun 17-Apr-11 13:41:22

> i think we shld be incorporating the best aba techniques
> into our autism schools
I agree but in my opinion that would be more like switching the school to ABA completely. I have seen a (private) special school in London where all work is based on it and ABA literally penetrates the whole fabric of school life from the minute the child is through the door until he gets off the minibus at home. Absolutely everyone at the school is trained in it and uses it all the time. They have wonderful results - but I think the reason is exactly because ABA is like SON-Rise: it only works if it becomes the whole life of the child.

silverfrog Sun 17-Apr-11 13:52:54

specialmusic: I disagree. dd1 gained quite specific benefits from 12 hours ABA a week, with a oung, untrained tutor, and fleeting visits from our consultant (when we started dd2 was only 10 months old - she took a lot of my time as was a velcro baby!)

dd1 came on leaps and bounds, and this is when I knew she needed to be in an ABA school.

she went instead to a TEACCH based school, which sickof knows well too (<waves> at sickof - just back fformt he States - have lots to tell you re: our time there). even when dd1 was full time in a TEACCH environment, with minimal ABA at home, she still benefitted form the ABA.

obviously not as much as now she is in a properly structured, fully enabled environment, but the progress really was startling. so I don't believe ABA has to be the whole life of the child/home/setting (in fact, we use a mix of things with dd1 now - but not the hated and often quoted "eclectic approach" - just a variety of things we know will work for dd1)

sickofsocalledexperts Sun 17-Apr-11 15:41:24

Yes I also did what I called ABA-lite for many years, combined with non-ABA school, and it worked really well. I never did the full-on 40 hours a week stuff. My motto is "any ABA is better than none". In fact, in some senses I think that an ABA-trained LSA combined with mainstream inclusion was my absolute ideal for DS. PM me your news Silverfrog! Maybe we should get together?

moondog Sun 17-Apr-11 16:03:21

Great article
How about a book ladies?

There is a very successful application of ABA called Direct Instruction which yielded fantastic results with hundreds of thousands of kids in hundreds of schools across the USA as part of the biggest educational experiment ever, known as Project Followthrough, which ran from the 60s to the 90s.

The results were so good that there was presumed to be a design fault and it was run again, with similarly stunning results, catapulting inner city ethnic dominated sink schools into a position where they were eclipsing the results gained by posh white middle class schools (it isn't exclusively an application for kids with SEN.

Was Direct Instruction taken up on a widespread basis?
No, the whole thing was quietly shelved with the commissioners of the study, lying, sacking and obfuscating theri way to maintaining a system where those at risk of failure keep on sinking lower and lower.

Ask any teacher if they have heard of Projerct Followthrough and most look blank.

The account of it by one of its chief architects, Zig Engelmann ('40 years of trying') will alternately enrage you and break your heart. He prints all the lying correspondence he received.

sickofsocalledexperts Sun 17-Apr-11 16:12:30

A book would be great! We could compile a selection of our mumsnet ABA stories, from across the UK, and present it to Michael Gove to get him to at least look again at TEACCH versus ABA. How much, after all, do you reckon the govt are wasting on TEACCH at present - an unproven, ineffective, unresearched system? My estimate would put it in the high 10s of millions.

And in what other area of education would we let a flabby, non-proven system just limp on for years, without subjecting it to proper research?

But the problem is that Ofsted just flings an "outstanding" rating at the most woeful of SN TEACCH schools, probably on the grounds that :

"oh look at all those sweet little special needs kiddies singing the "hello " song and then doing painting - isn't it lovely!"

No, it's not lovely. Teach them to read. Teach them to speak. Aim high, not just for "lovely". Ok, rant over!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: