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ABA/VB experiences

(33 Posts)
MangoMonster Tue 23-Aug-11 19:35:49

Hi there,

I'm new to mn. Was wondering if anyone has experiences of ABA/VB home programmes for preschool children? What are your thoughts on it?

My son has recently been given a working diagnosis of ASD. He is 2 years old.

I think it could help him learn new skills although I'd love to hear from others who have had some experience with it. I know it's not a cure or anything like that but I would like to give him the best chances to be able to go to a mainstream primary school, if that's at all possible. He's so young, it's only a working diagnosis.

Please message me if you feel more comfortable.

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 23-Aug-11 19:42:47

Mango, with a post like that you might get providers PMing you directly.

I have two really significant things to say about ABA/VB

The first: Begin immediately. At 2yrs old aim for a play-based version.

The second: Don't be panicked into not doing proper research into your providers. The ABA/VB industry is unregulated.

MangoMonster Tue 23-Aug-11 19:49:25

Starlight, I understand and have done a lot of research. We are going with PEACH. I really want to hear from other parents what they have experienced with this route. I know all children are different but I feel like I'm about to start something that is unknown to me in the pratical sense, although I have read loads. Thanks for responding, it seems like not many people want to discuss it as a form of therapy.

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 23-Aug-11 19:55:08

Yes, it is a scary thing to start, not least because parents who do it are seen as having gone 'underground' to do it.

My ds was dx as having moderate to severe asd at almost 3, with lots of single labelling words but no functional speech. No ability to follow instructions. He wouldn't even react when someone spoke to him.

He started ABA on his 3rd birthday. At 3 months of therapy his verbal comprehension rose from 1st percentile to the 34th. At 9 months it rose to 92nd percentile. He was engaged and ready and willing to learn and whilst these were the most impressive scores he progressed at roughly 4 times the rate of his NT peers in ALL skill areas, with the exception of social skills where he progressed at twice the rate of his NT peers.

sickofsocalledexperts Tue 23-Aug-11 20:00:32

I did VB from when my son was 3 - it was the best decision I ever made and I wish I had started it when he was 2. He's now, at 8, a very different child than could have been the case without ABA. Ok, I can't know that for sure, but I could see the way he was heading at his (useless ) TEACCH school. I have written two articles on my experiences on my blog. Let me just go and find the address!

sickofsocalledexperts Tue 23-Aug-11 20:02:57

autismandabamum.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/how-my-autistic-boy-learned-to-talk-via-aba/

here is the link to my two articles, which tell how it was for me with ABA.

MangoMonster Tue 23-Aug-11 20:07:25

That's good to hear. We have done lots of reading and "gone back to basics" with ds in the last few weeks and he is already more attentive and enjoying learning more. However, he has a real tendency to rote learn and I feel we need something structured to help him with this. I know he picks things up really fast but not in the conventional sense that other children learn. He finds conceptualising and generalising difficult. He loves interaction and pleasing people so I don't think he'll find it stressul but maybe tiring. He's so behind with his play skills at the moment and the approach we've taken up to now has not had much impact. The consultant mentioned that he is unique in the way he is interested in listening and responding, so this something I would like to make the most of. He has another issue related to his sight which may have made any ASD tendencies (which lots of people have) more prominent. I really really do not want to assume that he has ASD in a form that will prevent him from entering into mainstream education. At the rate he has progressed up to now, we are looking at a special school, but I want to ensure we have tried our hardest to teach him in a way he understands and to build his confidence before we go down the special school route. Hope that makes sense.

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 23-Aug-11 20:10:03

I'd just like to add too, that for me, the most significant thing about ABA, was that having a way to reach him and for him to reach us, we could take care of his happiness and make his life enjoyable.

Before that, everything was a struggle, everything was a battle. He was constantly in tears, or agressive and I was both of those things too.

He's upstairs now chatting to dh about the ikea wardobe they are both building together (as well some silliness such as 'what happens if you have no knees?). He is 4. I was told he may never be able to communicate or hold a conversation.

MangoMonster Tue 23-Aug-11 20:16:48

You've both made me so happy, it's great to hear positive experiences! Sickofsocalledexperts, so am I!!! So-called experts did not pick up his sight problem or his potential ASD. In fact they laughed at me and had me down as a stereo typical first time paranoid mother. They might fail ds but i certainly won't. I'll definitely check out your blog, thanks so so much for your help. smile and don't worry I'm not in denial about his diagnosis, I'm the one who pushed for it as I knew something wasn't right. smile

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 23-Aug-11 20:18:44

Okay. I know PEACH are fairly notorious for insisting on a high number of hours, which actually I disagree with if I'm honest but consider this:

An NT child wakes up and begins learning, she starts by seeking out her mother/contact/attention. Goes and finds her. Begins working out how she can get her attention, convince her to get up, negotiate this. Shall I cry, laugh, tickle her, ask for breakfast, pretend to throw myself down the stairs etc. The NT child interacts with her environment every second of her waking day and then collapses with exhaustion (hopefully) around 7ish.

A child with autism does not. They try and stay locked in their own world. Left in peace, their day today will be the same as yesterday. Identical. If they don't have lunch time at the same time with the same food there will be hell to pay. They don't have to think. They don't have to work. They don't sleep.

All you are doing, is having someone there to make their day a bit more like an NT's day, with constant learning, using their motivation and what they find fun to WANT to learn, and hopefully fall asleep at the end. It is the same but has to be a bit more directed.

bialystockandbloom Tue 23-Aug-11 20:30:56

We started a VB programme for ds when he was 3.5. My only regret is that we didn't start it sooner. It has been the best thing we could have done. I spend a disproportionate amount of time waxing lyrical about it, in fact, because it has done nothing but benefit ds and us as a family.

Not only are we doing something that has had clear, visible, unequivocal results in all aspects of his behaviour and development, we also as a family know how to help him, how to 'manage' (for want of a better word) him, and how to live our lives as normally as possible. We are not ruled by him anymore. (Don't mean that to sound derogatory about him of course - just that we had spent our lives in fear of upsetting him.)

It is consuming, admittedly, and your way of parenting might change so you have to work at it to start with (and make sure all the family/caregivers are consistent too), but tbh having a child with ASD is pretty consuming anyway!

Starting at 2yo is fantastic, the earlier the better. Doesn't matter about a dx imo - we started before ds was diagnosed. If you think there are difficulties there to address, and have found a way to help, that's what matters.

Look forward to hearing how you get on smile

MangoMonster Tue 23-Aug-11 20:33:48

Starlight, I completely agree. I'm not going to make him sit at a table and repeat actions all day, but I want him to learn if possible that they're are other things of interest outside his routine. It's exhausting and frustating doing this without help and structure. I'm aiming for 4 hours a day in 2 sessions but will consider the opinion of PEACH. To be honest I know he will do better in an an more natural "ABA" stricter because of his tendency to rote learn, so I won't lose sight of this.

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 23-Aug-11 20:34:14

Yes, I was going to add that too. You can't hand your child over to an organisation or ABA provider to 'fix'. You need to be on board and support the programme by knowing it, and being involved in devising it, not to mention delivering it at times.

It changes the way you parent and you are no longer afraid of your child (I don't mean that you are afraid of a 2yr old, but I mean you aren't afraid of how they'll react in public etc, because you know how to deal with it for a positive outcome).

MangoMonster Tue 23-Aug-11 20:35:10

That should have said " more natural ABA structure" not stricter.... Stupid phone. Lol.

MangoMonster Tue 23-Aug-11 20:44:15

I've managed to get my partner (ds dad) and my parents who we live with on board and they are all tying to learn what he needs and to be consistent. We have honestly seen an improvement in his listening and understanding, just from that in the last few weeks. I know it will be hard but we gave life to him and we probably also gave him his difficulties genetically so we are going to everything we can to make his life easier if we can. I don't want to change him, he's a wonderful, loving and humorous little boy but I want to help him with the things he finds challenging.

Bialy, thanks for your response, hope to start in the next month if I can find suitable tutors, will definitely let you know how we get on.

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 23-Aug-11 20:52:31

Where roughly in the country are you?

MangoMonster Tue 23-Aug-11 20:54:08

Chelmsford, essex

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 23-Aug-11 20:57:08

Hmmmm, just trying to remember the regular posters from there. Not especially generous or efficient with their ASD provision if IRC.

MangoMonster Tue 23-Aug-11 21:08:32

Yeah, all we've had so far is a play therapist for a couple of hours a week for 8 weeks, which didn't help. OT discharged him and we have salt starting next week which has taken 6 months to get. Local paediatrician actually laughed at me when I mentioned ASD so I didnt bother with him, went private to a developmental neurologist who gave the working diagnosis. I know we won't get any support just yet but I need tonlearn about statmenting and stuff die preschool in a year, if he goes. Think peach can help me with that. Which consultants did you guys use?

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 23-Aug-11 21:11:23

Not sure about PEACH, but we on here can certainly help with statementing.

BTW, video your ds lots and lots and lots. All the behaviours that you don't really want hanging around on your family records. You'll be amazed watching them in just 6 months, and if you need evidence that will help.

And why a working diagnosis? Why not a proper diagnosis?

MangoMonster Tue 23-Aug-11 21:38:06

Because he's young and he seems a little outside of the spectrum with regards to interest in communication and other visual issues due to patching.

cansu Tue 23-Aug-11 22:29:38

We used ABA with our dd2 from age 3 and I honestly think its the best thing we could have done. We did about 18 hours a week and this worked fine. I used an independent provider local to you and if you are interested I will PM you the name.

MangoMonster Tue 23-Aug-11 22:36:37

Cansu, thanks for your response. 18 hours sounds blissful as compared to 30. Please do pm me. Thanks again.

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 23-Aug-11 22:58:52

Mango, we achieved our results with 15 hours a week of tutor time (although as parents we were on board the rest of the time).

bialystockandbloom Tue 23-Aug-11 23:58:52

We've had on average around 15 hours a week too. At most we had 21 hours, at the moment (trying to find tutors!) 6 hours. Most of the year we've had 15 hours, which has achieved an enormous amount.

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