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Autism - Intensive Treatments

(27 Posts)
guyshahar Mon 18-Jul-11 10:27:56

Has anyone tried the following intensive treatments for autism? What experiences have they had with them? Any remarkable successes??:

1 - The Mifne Autism Treatment Centre in Israel

2 - The Son-Rise Programme (USA - it seems they used to run these in London too, but have recently stopped)

Any others?

IndigoBell Mon 18-Jul-11 10:38:41

Lots of people on this board have had huge and incredible success with ABA.

I've had huge success with the Sound Learning Centre - however my DS was 8, and his Aspergers was very mild.

yuckythingsonthefloor Mon 18-Jul-11 22:45:48

IndigoBell, cld you possibly say a bit about what they do at the Sound Learning Centre?

zzzzz Mon 18-Jul-11 23:03:13

Can't wait to see what everyone has tried that worked....

IndigoBell Tue 19-Jul-11 07:32:22

Yucky - first of all we did 10 day Auditory Integration Training. Then we did a year of Neuro Development Program (retained reflex therapy).

I don't know if that is the right place to start with kids who are younger or more severe, but it has worked amazingly well for my DS. A year and a half ago (when he was 9 and in Y4) school couldn't cope with him and were talking about getting him a statement. (So def relatively mild Aspergers)

Now at the end of Y5 he is just about off the SEN register. School have no concerns about him, they don't have to do anything to accommodate him, and he is doing fantastically both socially and academically. ( We did also move school)

And more importantly - I don't have any real concerns about him. A year ago I thought he wouldn't be able to go to high school and I'd have to HE him. Now I'm sure he'll be absolutely fine.

guyshahar Tue 19-Jul-11 09:36:52

That sounds really positive. I have looked at the Sound Learning Centre and would like him to do the AIT as soon as he is 3 (is the Neuro Program with them also?). However, he is just short of 2 at the moment and has been showing increasing signs of autism since early this year.

We are looking at doing something radical with him now, while he's still young enough to make a difference and while the NHS is busy with all of their assessments, which are all very important, but mean that he is without real support until they get to the end of their lengthy process. That's why we found out about Mifne and Son-Rise.

zzzzz Tue 19-Jul-11 09:42:35

It sounds like you might like intensive ABA for your little boy. I think the original model recomends 40 hours a week [though if you were to do sin-rise that would be a similar commitment], certainly there are lots on here who have done it with slightly older children though many less intensively. It is very expensive, but I think a more standard approachin america.

willowthecat Tue 19-Jul-11 09:55:43

I would suggest ABA too - I don't know anything about Mifne and a friend did not have a good experience with son - rise. We have found ABA very useful and if I could go back in time, I wish we had started ABA earlier. You are definitely right to do something now rather than wait for the NHS as well as it being a long process to get to a diagnosis, they are not in a position to offer much in the way of effective treatment even when you do get a diagnosis.

IndigoBell Tue 19-Jul-11 10:49:22

I think at that age you should start with ABA (from what I've read on here)

And then when he is 3 or 4 also do the Sound Learning Centre. The Neuro Dev Program is with them as well.

I also think (from what I've read on here) that ABA is something you can try for 3 months, and if you don't see results by then it's reasonable to try something else........

sickofsocalledexperts Tue 19-Jul-11 10:49:37

Another vote for ABA. The original Lovaas research showed that, if you get to the kid early enough and intensively enough with this behavioural intervention, a good proportion can actually be "mainstreamable" by age 5. In his study, just under half of the kids were rated "normal" (in terms of behaviour, IQ etc) by age 5. I know that sounds unbelievable, but that's actually what happened.

My only explanation for this is that some kids are destined to "grow out " of a lot of their autism, perhaps because it is mild to start with. I have seen this happen with my own DSD, who was classically autistic at 5, but would no longer qualify for even an aspergers diagnosis today. If we were in America, we would call her cured or recovered from autism.

My theory is that ABA doesn't "cure" autistic kids (no such thing, imho) but it does hasten the process of growing out of it.

I have absolutely no science to back that up, just a hell of a lot of observation, reading, researching and chatting to a wide network of autism mums.

I would definitely throw all you have at ABA, as you are ahead of the game already by getting in so early. I wish wish wish wish wish someone had said that to me when my boy was 2.

sickofsocalledexperts Tue 19-Jul-11 10:57:22

NB - I should add that I don't think ABA can turn a severely autistic kid into a mildly or non-autistic kid. But I do think it can turn severe to moderate. That's a personal view, from my own and many other mum pals' experience of ABA, and not even always very good ABA.

I know of two mums in the "cure" category, out of maybe 100, but their kids had more speech and normal IQ from the start.

By "cure" I do not mean an actual cure, as I don't believe in that for autism, but I do mean that their kids are now at mainstream schools, sitting SATs, going on school residential trips solo, making friends, using a mobile phone, talking, doing maths etc etc. Their lives are headed towards independence, not dependence.

drivemecrazy63 Tue 19-Jul-11 13:29:21

ive not tried ABA ds is moderate ASD in SS but we did try the AIT and finished a couple of weeks ago atm no change but need to wait till the next parents evening and see what they say about his concentration and meltdowns wether they have increased or decreased im still hopefull im pinning a lot of hope on the SS tbh that they will be able to teach him more self control and this will lead to independance as he gets older (he 11 now)

guyshahar Tue 19-Jul-11 13:49:34

Sorry if this question is naive, but what exactly is ABA - how does it work and is it suitable for mildly ASD toddlers, or just severe?

dolfrog Tue 19-Jul-11 14:15:24

you could have a look at my online PubMed Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) research paper collection. This may help explain a few things

sickofsocalledexperts Tue 19-Jul-11 16:00:55

The above is a link to a blog I wrote which talks about how the early days of ABA were for me.

VB - the type of ABA we used - believes that most skills (including speech and language) can be taught using a mixture of motivation and breaking the task down into bite-sized chunks, practising those chunks consistently till mastered, then building the chunks back up into the total skill.

Starchart Tue 19-Jul-11 17:43:46

Yes it is suitable for all children/people.
1. Do a detailed assessment of strengths and weaknesses.
2. Do more assessment of weaknesses and break down the next skills into tiny parts.
3. Do a detailed assessment of the most favoured things in the whole world.
4. Take a tiny bit of a weakness and a bigger bit of a favoured thing and give the favoured thing for any attemp at practising the required skill.
5. Make the required skill so rewarding that the child WANTS to practice over and over and aim for it to become one of the most favoured things.

dolfrog Tue 19-Jul-11 19:43:22


I have added your blog to my Delicious bookmarking account
I think the problems you are having regarding ABA in the UK could be down to
Efficacy of Applied Behavioral Intervention in Preschool Children with Autism for Improving Cognitive, Language, and Adaptive Behavior: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis 2008
However you may find more support from
Randomized, Controlled Trial of an Intervention for Toddlers With Autism: The Early Start Denver Model 2010

sickofsocalledexperts Tue 19-Jul-11 20:06:08

Thanks dolfrog. The most commonly cited UK studies of aba are Eldevik et al (2009), Rogers (2008) and the Scamp study (Southampton uni, 2007). But eibi (aba) also gets 3 ticks on the main independent autism research site in the UK

electra Tue 19-Jul-11 20:09:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dolfrog Wed 20-Jul-11 00:04:58


I found a few links to your references
Eldevik et al (2009)
Meta-Analysis of Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention for Children With Autism
Rogers (2008)
Evidence-Based Comprehensive Treatments for Early Autism
Scamp study (Southampton uni, 2007)
Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention: Outcomes for Children With Autism and Their Parents After Two Years
and a couple of others
Communication, Interventions, and Scientific Advances in Autism: A Commentary
and Deferred and immediate imitation in regressive and early onset autism

dolfrog Wed 20-Jul-11 00:34:58


there is some research regarding Son Rise and other interventions, which are included in BMJ Clinical Evidence.
All I could get online were
Autism 2010
Autism 2008
The Son-Rise Program intervention for autism: prerequisites for evaluation.2006

guyshahar Thu 21-Jul-11 10:42:19

Thanks for all the responses. I have been looking at ABA on the web, and it seems to have quite a lot of detractors who are unhappy about how it has worked on their children. But on this message board, there seems to be a lot of praise for it. So now, I'm confused again...
They seem to say (well, this is my understanding of them anyway) that ABA teaches kids to behave as you want them to behave, but does not alter the way they feel about the world or other people, except in a superficial way, whereas other techniques try (I don't know how successfully) to deal with autistic tendencies by eliciting trust first, which may be less successful behaviourally but result in a deeper connection with them.
Any thoughts?

willowthecat Thu 21-Jul-11 10:55:27

It is always going to be a subjective judgement but ABA places a lot of emphasis on 'pairing' between the child and tutor to build trust and to show the child that learning is fun. Parents' views vary as much as anyone elses of course and they are obviously not infallible

silverfrog Thu 21-Jul-11 11:02:25

ABA is based on trust.

run a mile form anyone who says it isn't.

as willow says, it is known as pairing, and it builds up the relatinship between tutor and child.

we have done ABA for nearly 4 years now. first at home, and then at an ABA school. it has been wonderful for dd1, who is unable ot learn in any other environment.

on a good, well run programme, ABA is ot about making your child respond in robotic fashion to various commands. it is about helping them rech their potential. over our time with ABA (we started when dd1 was 3, she is nearly 7 now), I have yet ot see anythign done which has not been done in fun, as play, just like any pre-school and young child learns, but with a 1:1 focus.

sickofsocalledexperts Thu 21-Jul-11 13:46:07

In my experience a lot of detractors of ABA tend to have been fed a line by their local authorities, but have never actually tried it themselves so don't have personal experience. And in all my years on mumsnet , and all the hundreds/thousands of posts, I think there have only been two people who have actually done ABA and not liked it. And very many more who swear by it.

Every single ABA tutor or supervisor I've ever met has been young, good with kids, and good at making learning fun.

That hasn't been the case for the professionals I've come across in TEACCH special schools, though I know there are some good TEACCH schools out there for some lucky mums.

But the stuff about ABA not letting the child be themselves is just anti-ABA propaganda.

The only areas where I don't want my boy to "be himself" have tended to be areas like - when he's headbutting his grandpa, or sucking manky things off the pavement to get the dirty water out of them, or issuing a high-pitched "EEEEEEEEEEEE" noise for 16 hours a day, every day, or flooding the house by constantly running taps and putting the plug in. In those circs, I admit I want him to be a little less like his "autistic self" and I want to re-teach those habits!

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