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How do I know if ABA etc might be right for my child?(23 Posts)
Hello my son, 3.8, has a severe speech delay (he does have speech though) and poor social interaction and we are on the path to various assessments. I think he probably is on the autistic spectrum. He is currently having weekly SLT (privately we are waiting for NHS...). I've read a lot about ABA and just wondering how I work out whether it might help/suit my son? Would be grateful for any thoughts/directions..... Thank you so much to anyone who might have ideas..
We never used ABA. Or any other therapy. DS learned to talk/communicate, and use the loo, and all the other things. So did his autistic mates. So did I, and DH. And our friends. And our wider family. And my autistic colleagues. Not much of a statistical sample. But no need to worry that it has to be ABA or your child is doomed. What we found useful is learning about sensory stuff and social overload, and avoiding sensory/social overload. Then our fine young folk are not in continual stress and pain, and can learn.
i suppose from your post, amberlight, that you and your DS and colleagues are very high functioning.
DD is very low functioning and for us ABA has been a game changer.
OP, unless you try you won't know for sure but the research evidence convinced me to give it a go.
You can get grands from Caldwell etc.
Hi Choc. I can't live independently. Nor can our DS. He's classically autistic. I'm partially non-verbal. Any idea what you mean by "very high functioning"? Autism is never mild, and the "functioning labels" have been shown to be very misleading. Those who cannot speak feel so awful when someone tells them they are 'low functioning'. Those who are told they are 'high functioning' end up with no services because of the label. It's all a mess. To get a diagnosis, it has to have a big impact on areas of life. The knack has been to find ways round those. Some ABA people are fab. Others, not. Everyone should make their own enquiries. I'd ask to speak to autistic people who have had ABA, to find out what they think.
Amber, I never suggested your is ASD mild. However, you come across articulate, you have a job (you mention colleagues). This is a world away from some of the individuals with severe low functioning (non verbal, severe Learning difficulties) I know who need 24/7 supervision. it was never my intention to minimise your ASD or the way it affects you. My dd has severe ASD with severe LD too and I know that a lot of the things she achieved have been only due to ABA.
Jobs, yes. Adviser to the Government on autism, working closely with all sorts of therapists and hundreds and hundreds of autistic folk of every sort. Have done for years. Worked directly for an ABA charity for a couple of years too.
ABA was a game changer for our son too. He would never have learned to talk or use the toilet, or eat any more than 3 items of food without it. And I know this because a) he had to be extremely motivated in order to learn/ want to learn b) almost all his peers (similar level of LDs) are not speaking/ toilet trained etc and a couple are very tragically being tube fed. It's certainly not the case that all children will learn these skills with the passing of time. Far far from it. Many become more and more frustrated and exhibit worse and worse behaviour with residential care sometimes being the only option.
Equipping ds1 with life skills has made him the very opposite of stressed or unhappy. He is extremely happy, delighted to learn new things, and giving him the means to communicate his needs and wants has been life changing for all of us. I'd like someone to try and make the case that it would have been less cruel to leave him banging his head on the floor with frustration!
Anyhow I would advise checking out the Facebook page ABA4ALL.
Pastizzi, I hope none of the above posts left you with the idea that anyone thinks autistic children should not be equipped with life skills, or be allowed to injure themselves? No-one has said that.
Glad that ABA was a solution for your own child.
Other solutions exist, including learning about sensory and social stress on autistic brain wiring - and teaching us how to balance our brain input levels. That way, we can concentrate and learn. And we're not in so much brain-pain that we need to bash our heads against something to indicate that we're in pain.
Me, I'm deeply concerned about some ABA organisations (certainly not all). For example the lead organisation in the USA - who have just promoted a centre which delivers electric shocks to autistic people who can't display the right behaviour at the right time. By strapping them to a table and electrocuting them. I'm not for one moment saying that all ABA charities or places do this. I am saying that this is the extreme end of compliance training. And also that many of us autistic adults are very wary of compliance training of any sort.
Amberlight, where is this centre, is there a link?
OP- I've said it on here many times before, It's changed my dd1 completely.
We do the VB form of ABA which is very play based. Lots of language taught through natural play environment, no table, no "snacks" for rewards only lots of toys and my tutors on their knees pretty much what you would do as a parent but its carefully planned and repeated it until the child learns it.
Ultimately the only way to see what will work for your child is to try it out. Good luck
My son has a severe language disorder and asd (we are still undergoing endless assessment but this is likely to lead to a dx of Autism). He is highly unlikely to live independently and needs constant supervision to keep him safe. He has at least normal IQ though so would be described as High functioning. I describe him using his name (which I chose and am partial to). He finds it hard to gather the language he needs to express himself age appropriately. We did not use ABA and he talks, is toilet trained and reads/tells bad jokes/plays/etc.
My opinion is that the idea behind ABA is good, some practitioners leave a lot to be desired (to the point of abuse as in the electric shock stuff), it is very expensive for what it is, and I'm not convinced that the results are as amazing as are reported.
You see IF I had used ABA when ds was 3 I would be convinced that his progress was down to that. He didn't use mama/Mummy till 4, nor yes. I didn't understand then how much he would develop.
amberlight if your work is as it sounds, thank you.
Just want to point out for the sake of absolute clarity that there is absolutely no way in which any ABA programme in the UK would use any harmful aversives (let alone electric shocks !!) as a) it would be illegal, in fact a criminal act and b) it would be against the ethics of all ABAers here. There is one niche centre in the US, for extreme self harm, but it is controversial even amongst those in the US ABA community. Using this kind of thing to criticise ABA is I find quite unrepresentative and unhelpful. I have done ABA for my boy for 9 years, it has been immensely effective and always kind. The other methods were useless for my boy, I tried them all, but each child is different. The ABA method has the best stack of evidence for autism, particularly more so than OT, SALT and Teacch, certainly more than eclectic. But of course for some kids other things do work, particularly where there is no cognitive delay,or only minor.
The ABA4All page has plenty of testimonies from adults with autism like Alex Lowery who had ABA as children and liked it
No offence taken at all Loup. I did use sweet reinforcers, still do sometimes, but tbh so did my parents with me - looking back, 50p for a quarter of toffee Bon bons was the perfect reinforcer for me and my siblings for many years!
Hi Loupdelou, re: regulation, surely you would just look for a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst as an indicator of quality, an internationally recognised qualification at PG level needing proof of many supervised practice hours to qualify. I am not a behaviour analyst but my child has had fantastic results with a Verbal Behaviour programme.
All, thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I really appreciate all your info/views etc - lots of food for thought. I guess what I am struggling with is that I don't know how my boy will turn out and what might help him make the most of himself - I guess time will tell!
Sausage, it is really difficult not knowing what the future holds.
My son started ABA a couple of months ago and it's lovely seeing him enjoying learning now he has the right support and opportunity.
It has also made me feel better about the future
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