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ABA therapy, have you tried it for your child with ASD? Need advice ASAP please x

(52 Posts)
Toni27 Thu 24-Jan-13 14:41:52

Hi our son is 3, 4 in march. He was diagnosed with asd in dec 2012. He can talk, as in he can name objects and ask for things he wants. He repeats dialogues from tv almost constantly. He does not really respond to what others are saying to him, normally does not acknowledge he is being spoken to.
I asked his senco about trying Aba therapy on Monday as we want to do everything we can to try and help him ASAP. She completely advised against this as she said it is very intense therapy, we will be living from a workstation for the rest of our sons life and also she doesn't believe any change would be good for our son. She said we would have to undo all the work everyone has done for our son - putting in visuals at nursery, getting him to sit down for an adult led activity for up to one minute at nursery.
However, I have had to collect my son from nursery today as his behaviour was too challenging for them today, he was being very unfocused, pulling out every single drawer of toys that he could, not doing as he was told, pouring sand over the other childrens heads, head butting the walls when he was told not to behave in this way.
I love our little boy so much and truly believe that with the right help he will be okay, if he could only get his understanding of language and his speech there would be a vast improvement in his life.
I'm scared that by seeking any private help outside of the "system" might have a negative affect on him getting a statement that we want, we are putting him into mainstream primary school and hoping to get one to one support at all times for him.
If you have experienced aba therapy PLEASE can you tell me your experience, good or bad. We will be prepared to go behind our senco's back and pay for our son to have aba therapy if we truly believe it is his best chance of learning to interact properly and with language. How often did your child have therapy, as in how many hours a week? Was it just at home or did they need to go not your child's nursery or school as well? Did it make a massive difference to your child?
I just can't help thinking that there must be more we can do for our son to help him. Thanks xx

zumbaleena Thu 24-Jan-13 14:58:06

You should ideally first turn off that tv to get rid of his echolalia. Shut it 100%. Get some suitable educational apps on iPad next and let him play with that instead not more than 30 min in a day. The first few days will be very hard but if you can pass those, he will be focussing a lot more and not talking gibberish so much. Again, this is a suggestion.

Forget the SEnco. Start ABA ASAP. Pm me....where are you based? I,ll send you some names. Check this website called Try them free for 1 week and it will give you a good idea what ABA is about. You may want to become a paid member later on.

We tried and are still doing ABA on dd and she has successfully lost her asd diagnosis. She is not recovered but is improving consistently. Seek outside help. With the country being in recession, almost every LA is trying to avoid giving a statement. But most important is to utilize this time of under 5 or 6 yrs old to help your son.

We do a 15 hour program of ABA now after having done more hrs before per week and are fighting hard to get a shadow into her school.

You must also look into biomed treatment for Ds if you have not looked already. Check out

Pm if you need any more info. I got dd on track after I found some great help here.

sickofsocalledexperts Thu 24-Jan-13 14:59:10

Senco talking ill-informed nonsense. ABA best thing I ever did

Dev9aug Thu 24-Jan-13 15:00:53

I am afraid some of your senco views of ABA are outdated and some of them plain wrong.

It is an intense therapy, but you get out what you put in. The benefits in many many cases are life changing and not just for the child but the immediate family as well. ABA program can be done at home, nursery, schools, shopping centres etc.. Your son will not be tied to a workstation for the rest of his life. Have a look at the old ABA threads on here to get an idea of what benefits ABA can bring. If you can get to London on 23rd feb, there is a training session by another poster from here 'moondog' where she will be covering ABA amongst other things, could be very useful for you.

We have been doing ABA for a year, in our case, the results have not been as dramatic as some, but I am still convinced it is one of the best things we could have done for him.

zumbaleena Thu 24-Jan-13 15:01:20

Sickofsocalledexperts......have I ever told you that you were the best thing that happened to me on this platform? And you always help people....god bless you

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 24-Jan-13 15:45:23

What Dev said!!

Plus. SENCO is a fool. If you want to teach your DS skills by getting a clear and detailed assessment of where he is, then teaching them one by one in the most fun way possible FOR HIM, measuring the progress of acquisition and then generalisation, then ABA is for you.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 24-Jan-13 15:56:28

Having said that, there are a number of people and organisations in the UK applying ABA wrongly. Perhaps your SENCO only knows about this.

sickofsocalledexperts Thu 24-Jan-13 16:06:31

Thanks Zumballena! X

cansu Thu 24-Jan-13 16:44:11

I have never met any professional with a good understanding of ABA other than outside the system. Yes ABA is intensive but not everyone does a 40 hour programme. With dd we started with twelve hours a week and built up to about 18 to 20 hours. She did the sessions in 3 hours. The sessions included table top work but also work on the floor and plenty of play activities which were actually work though she didn't know that. She also had opportunities for free play and a break of 15 minutes outside the playroom where she could do whatever she wanted. She loved the tutors and was very happy and excited to see them. Find some families doing ABA and observe some current practise I think you and the senco would be very impressed! I would start developing a thick skin and a healthy dose of scepticism when dealing with so called experts and professionals. You can get some good and also some very poor advice from them.

bialystockandbloom Thu 24-Jan-13 17:04:01

Only have a sec to respond but what the others said. ABA was the best thing I could have done for my ds (started at 3.6). I detest the argument that ABA is crap because it's 'intensive' and requires full-time input - ffs AUTISM is intensive and requires full time input. ABA is (imho) one of the most successful and easy to apply methods of living with, teaching, managing, and helping your child.

It also has nothing whatsoever to do with your senco (who is probably v ignorant about ABA in any case) what methods of intervention and help you do with your child.

Will try and come back and answer more about how our programme worked.

TheLightPassenger Thu 24-Jan-13 17:08:46

I didn't go down the ABA route for various reasons, and am open minded as to whether other approaches Hanen, Floortime etc could work well too, if targets and progress were tracked v well BUT I think your senco is talking patronising hogwash - clearly if nursery are struggling with your child's behaviour then all their marvellous visuals are not the holy grail for helping your child, and definitely think you are right to want to explore other options to help your child.

I did a bit of reading about VB (Verbal Behaviour) form of ABA on the mariposa school website and was v impressed by that, had I read about it earlier on in the SN journey I probably would have tried to do a self-taught version of it iyswim.

mumof2terrors Thu 24-Jan-13 17:12:59

I am also forever grateful to Sickofsocalled for her help and advice without her we would also be at a loss. We are running a 35hr program and seeing amazing results with my 4 year old son.

The senco knows nothing start ABA as soon as you can the fact that your son talks is amazing as most of our kids start off as non verbal

googlyeyes Thu 24-Jan-13 17:27:48

Don't have much time to write but you must understand above anything that there is huge prejudice against ABA by anyone who is part of the current system (and therefore invested in the status quo!). Ds1 was diagnosed at 2 and the SALT and paed pretty much hissed when I said I'd been looking into ABA. They trotted out what I now know to be every outdated, ignorant argument against it. It ruins family life (no it doesn't, and certainly not as much as challenging behaviours and inability to communicate will!!), it turns the child into a robot (again, nothing could be further from the truth, our programme was all based around play and doing the things ds loved most in the world, with people he came to adore), he will never learn to generalise (again, nonsense. Generalising skills learned at home is absolutely one of the top priorities in an ABA programme)

Am in a rush so can't think of the rest off the top of my head. Suffice to say it's all bullshit designed to keep you in the system and deter you from asking for expensive treatment for your child. Even though it has been proven beyond any doubt to work.

My son is not going to ever have his diagnosis removed, but thanks to ABA he behaves like a dream, can interact, talk, play, all the good stuff! The proposed alternative (teacch) would have had him signing or handing over picture cards, stuck to visual timetables and low expectations.. ABA is preparing my son for the real world, teacch would have imprisoned him in a cradle to grave system and I would stake my life on the fact that he would not have any speech.

googlyeyes Thu 24-Jan-13 17:28:24

Oh, and I heart sickofsocalledexperts too :-)

sickofsocalledexperts Thu 24-Jan-13 17:38:23

Thank you googlyeyes and mumof2terrors but I am blushing now! I too was told all the bull@@@@ about ABA and will forever be grateful to a mum who told me to ignore the LA prejudice and go for it. Like googlyeyes, I am pretty positive I would never have heard my boy speak without ABA. I also think he would have grown up aggressive. Not sure he'd have ever learned to read and write. The list goes on.

But the LA staff are trained to put mums off ABA for one reason only. £s

moondog Thu 24-Jan-13 17:47:50

It's not as sinister as being trained to put people off ABA.
It's a case of total lack of knowledge or very shaky understanding based on one or two cases they heard about eighth hand.

(It is also true that there is some dodgy ABA being peddled,as is the case with every formn of intervention or teaching but it is easy nowadays to roout out the charlatans.)

Im an s/lt of many years standing and doing a post graduate qualification in ABA changed my life-both personally and professionally.
I would not dream of assessing or intervening with anyone without basing my work on ABA based principles, because if I didn't, my intervention would be inadequate.

I'm a bog standard state employed NHS too-don't work in any fancy settings.

bialystockandbloom Thu 24-Jan-13 20:27:02

I absolutely and wholeheartedly second what googlyeyes said.

It's not the case that other therapies/interventions won't help (any intervention is better than none!) but the nonsense that is spouted about ABA is so damaging. Not only does it deter people who may have no other means of finding out what it really is about (like you've done) but the fact that there is systemic and institutional ignorance about it means that it is never offered to families or even suggested to them by any HCP. Regardless of who funds it (and it is of course about funding, at the end of the day) the fact that no-one even mentions it to families when they get a dx makes my blood boil.

When ds was dx we were pushed out of the door with a bunch of leaflets from the NAS in our hands. It was only massive good luck and Mumsnet that steered me in the direction of ABA.

At its core, ABA is simply about the fact that behaviour can be changed and skills can be learnt, and it uses a method of positive-reinforcement to help change that behaviour and address skill deficit. Nothing at all radical or outre about that.

ok, rant over blush

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 24-Jan-13 20:36:01

'AUTISM is intensive and requires full time input'

is genius!

Why make that input headless chicken-shit, when you can make it targetted and progressive?

jomaman Thu 24-Jan-13 20:41:01

I also agree... ABA best thing we ever did. I often wake up in a cold sweat imagining a scenario where I hadn't seen about it on mumsnet. Another closet fan of sickof here, plus many many others who have shared their wisdom!

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 24-Jan-13 20:45:06

Well I've MET her.......

<oooh get me!!!!!>

<fame by association?>


AgnesDiPesto Thu 24-Jan-13 21:04:28

ABA is working for my son. He learnt far more in ABA at home than in his mainstream nursery even though he had a statement, fullltime 1:1, SALT and outreach in nursery.

LAs tell nurseries rubbish about ABA. Go and see some for yourself. Any decent ABA consultant will let you sit in on sessions. Once we won funding and got ABA staff into nursery the nursery said it was nothing like what they expected / had been told. You can do ABA at home - but challenge the SENCO - has she seen any ABA ever herself? Can she not have an open mind? Our nursery noticed really significant changes in DS within 2 weeks of starting ABA eg much more language.

ABA is not an easy option from an effort point of view. But the effort of doing ABA is nothing compared to the stress of watching your child make no progress or even go backwards. When you see your child progress you will feel 100 times better.

The nursery staff will have 1 day autism training, if that. Good ABA staff will bring years of experience.

My son learnt more in the first week of ABA than a year of fulltime help in a mainstream nursery. At 3 my son was behaving like yours. My son is still on an ABA programme at 6 but now in mainstream school (with ABA support) part-time. he is the best behaved child in the class. One of the best readers. He is playing with other children. He is easier to manage at home - we can go for walks, meals etc now which we could not do 2 years ago. He is gaining language slowly but steadily. He does not use visuals and has never needed them, we occasionally use them to teach something new then fade them out. ABA is about preparing a child for the real world if they can, about being independent, not dependent on a world where everything needs velcro attached to make sense.

You won't undo anything that has been done. More likely the opposite. I can pretty much guarantee if he can sit for 1 minute now then within a few weeks of ABA it will be 2 mins, then more. DS sits for up to 45 mins in motivating activities now. And he has never had, or needed a workstation. The first thing ABA got him doing was sat on the carpet with the other children not off in a corner on his own lining things up.

Toni27 Thu 24-Jan-13 21:15:34

Omg thank you so much for all your responses to my post I really wasn't expecting so many and I'm so glad they all positive about aba therapy! It gives me so much hope for our little boy! Just feel like more could be done for him. Positive reinforcement is what he needs, I'm definetly going to print off this whole thread and look in to all the advice you have given il be looking on that website thank you Zumba, and at the date for moondog training, it's so great to have some positive feedback from you all after feeling so deflated after my chat with senco's on Monday thank you again xxx

Toni27 Thu 24-Jan-13 21:16:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Toni27 Thu 24-Jan-13 21:18:03

If you could Zumba, or anyone else, recommend any names of aba tutors in our area thank you xx

Ineedmorepatience Thu 24-Jan-13 21:38:08

I am an senco early years senco who is just about to get involved with ABA through the family of a child I work with. I cant wait and am looking forward to learning about it and seeing how it works.

Not all early years settings have such closed minds, you may be better to find one that would be excited by a new experience.

Good lucksmile

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