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ABA! Whose done it? Whose loved it?

(18 Posts)
Msqueen33 Sat 27-Aug-16 19:14:12

ABA! I'm wondering if this is a route worth exploring for my three year old. She's got asd and language disorder and very little speech. I'm wondering if ABA might help with some behavioural issues. Support here is very low. Speech have basically said as she's not moving forward as quickly as others it's not worth seeing her and ot only deal if there are two functional difficulties.

ReggieJones Sat 27-Aug-16 20:53:57

I work in the field so not coming at this from the viewpoint but hopefully can give some useful advice. It sounds like SLT in particular are being really unhelpful. Its critical for children who have difficulty with speech to get help early as the preschool years are the time when progress can really be made that will impact their future learning. As a separate issue I'd actually consider making a complaint about the advice you received from the Speech and Language therapist, no child is not worth helping particularly one who is struggling.

In my experience children (particularly those who start when they're under 5) make great progress with ABA. They enjoy learning and make progress because everything that's taught is personalized to what is functional to them and where their motivation lies. It can be time consuming and hard work at times but also great fun and so valuable to teach skills that are the building for the child's future learning

Msqueen33 Sat 27-Aug-16 21:12:35

That's really interesting thank you. Great to hear from someone in the field. I'm disappointed by salt. They've basically said they can give me exercises to do with her but other kids need their plans changing more so it's not worth them seeing her more than once a month. My other dd also has asd and although her language was better she was seen once a month. Sometimes I feel she benefits from someone outside the family doing the exercises with her. Overall support has felt very lacking.

I know this is daft but what sort of things do ABA do? Exercises etc.

PunkyBubba Sat 27-Aug-16 23:10:03

Hi! DS1 started ABA 12 months ago and we think it has helped him a lot in so many ways.

In answer to your last question though some of his first ABA programs were to encourage copying (something NT children do as standard to learn speech, social cues, etc). An example would be saying "do this" and touching your nose, or clapping your hands, etc and your DC copying your action. This is obviously in the middle of lots of motivational play, with lots of rewards, so your DC sees it all as a game. This worked brilliantly for DS as through this he started actually watching what I was doing and copying, and then other people.

Another program focussed on matching identical items (put 3 items in front of DC) then give an item identical to 1 of the 3, then say "match". Once DS could match identical items, then we moved to non-identical (so they were matching 2 toy cars, but one was vtech, and one happyland for example)... Then matching pictures to objects (picture of car)... Etc which has now become matching pictures to words (photo of me, and the word "mummy")

There were and have been many more, but the programs will be tailored to your child's individual needs so obviously not all will be the same.

Interesting what you have experienced with SALT, as I was told it was not worth their time working on DS1s severe speech sound issues (at age 3 he started speaking, but everything was vowel sounds e.g. Mummy was "Uh-ee", though he could make the "mmm" sound when he said "more"... ). They said he wouldn't work with them in the intensive way needed due to his inability to engage for long periods of time, or follow instructions.

Using ABA techniques it took me 3 weeks to teach him to say "mummy". Once we both knew it could be done it snowballed.. DS1 now talks in full sentences, and while he still has some speech sound issues he can be understood by most people.... As he tells them word for word an entire episode of Thomas the tank engine hmmgrin

Of course all our children are different and have different strengths and difficulties but my point is ABA helped DS to do something SALT said was impossible at that time.

zzzzz Sat 27-Aug-16 23:18:37

I agree with the salt actually. I think salt is very helpful for speech but not so much for language in the early years.

Swimming lessons could give you weekly contact and interaction and probably give more benefit.

notgivingin789 Sun 28-Aug-16 01:31:43

I love what ABA does have been thinking if I should go down this route for DS, but pinkbubba your comment..

"*In answer to your last question though some of his first ABA programs were to encourage copying (something NT children do as standard to learn speech, social cues, etc). An example would be saying "do this" and touching your nose, or clapping your hands, etc and your DC copying your action*".

I've come across this when watching ABA sessions. I was talking to an ABA tutor and she got pretty miffed up when I questioned it. But you know the "Do this" command...I know the logic behind it--getting the child to imitate etc etc etc. Wouldn't it be better if this was taught more naturally? I was worried that DS would just "copy", but not get the reason behind why he has to do that, ifyswim? I was worried it was a bit rigid.

Op what the speech therapist said was disgraceful, you should complain and possibly speak and write a letter to the manager of the therapist team.

notgivingin789 Sun 28-Aug-16 01:38:15

Maybe this is for another thread.

I think ABA is great and it is defiantly beneficial...I'm interested in trying ABA for DS behavioural side of things. But-- I do not want to get flamed-- I can see what some people said about ABA being a bit robotic?

As an example; there's a little boy I know who does a lot of ABA. His parents told me that one of his targets was to greet they started off with saying hi to his parents and the list go on. I'm not sure how ABA works, but whenever I saw the little boy..if anyone (teacher) in the room said "Bye..jaffa cakes" to another person(not directly to the boy), the little boy would pick up on the word "bye" and would repeat what the teacher had exactly said, sort of like echolalia, but not ifyswim.

zzzzz Sun 28-Aug-16 03:02:57

that is echolalia notgiving

PunkyBubba Sun 28-Aug-16 08:22:24

Notgiving, for my DS the "Do this" program (it wasn't called that but can't remember the proper name) worked in that it encouraged him to watch me, or the tutor, to see what we were going to do next. I noticed a definite difference in that he started paying more attention to others, and he now will watch others and learn things from observing, which he didn't do before.

My DS learned to say "Hi my name is X" from watching something on TV and changing it to his name, not through ABA. He also uses it in a variety of inappropriate situations.. I think that is down to how the child interacts with others, and I see it as the first stepping stone, rather than the end game of conversing with others.

Maybe slightly off-topic, but I saw an adult with autism speak about how he acquired speech through echolalia at the Autism show this year. He said studying drama was the best thing for him, as he learned scripts for the plays he was in, and realised that is how he could interact with others.. By learning a 'script'. I'm not explaining this very well, but I have heard this before too through research. My son is very echolalic, and I can see that some things may never come 'naturally' to him, and he so he may need to learn things in a more 'scripted' way.

I'm not evangelical about ABA, or any other 'intervention'. I think it's right to question 'professionals' if you don't agree, as I do with our consultant. You need the right consultant, the right tutor, and to be heavily involved yourself so you can ensure the programs are what is best for your child. I have read and heard first hand the upsetting stories of programs to stop 'stimming', force eye contact, etc.. and made sure the people we worked with agreed with our views on things like that.

MaterofDragons Sun 28-Aug-16 11:03:30

I'm running programmes for my sons and love the progress both of them have made. For that reason alone I'm going to continue with ABA. Nothing else has come close to helping them.

It's hard going though. The organisation, people in your home, the recruitment of tutors, the expense (!) is incredibly wearing and stressful. If I had lots of money, nanny, housekeeper etc. it would certainly help grin

amunt Sun 28-Aug-16 22:32:32

Ds is only able to learn with ABA at the moment, he learns nothing at school despite caring and professional support staff. So we don't have another option. Hopefully as he acquires more independent learning skills through ABA, the balance will tip the other way. Totally agree with PunkyBubba and MaterofDragons , you've got to be involved in quality assurance and getting the right programmes. Interesting comment about Drama and scripts, I'll look into that.

cansu Mon 29-Aug-16 06:49:01

It is the only intervention that made any difference to dd. I would definitely recommend it especially for a young child as it teaches some of the basic skills they need to attend and follow instructions. It also really helped to develop some receptive language in my dd.

PleaseNoMoreMinecraft Mon 12-Sep-16 23:24:35

We did a bit of ABA with our kids when they were younger, but weren't particularly impressed. It cost a fortune (which we don't have) - about £1K to start, then about £250-£350 a week, and after about 9 hours a week each (after school, which completely knackered them - and us - out) they learned very little that they didn't know already.

However I think the consultant was pretty young and although BCBA trained didn't have a lot of post training experience and was treating the kids like their knowledge was much more basic than it actually was (they were - and continue to be - relatively high functioning). It also always seemed very rigid. We stopped it in the end as it was a really expensive way of getting us nowhere and we thought that playdates and a good run in the park during those times would be better for them - a decision we've never regretted!

Bananasinpyjamas1 Tue 13-Sep-16 01:38:32

I've also found ABA the most effective way to help my 4 year old in the past year. Your SLT was wrong, there are lots of ways SLT can help language, the Hanen method etc, you just need a good SLT! I know, I've seen 3 and finally the last one got it and tailored really good advice for my child.

It works because, my child like a lot of other ASD kids, will NOT learn by osmosis from other kids! Well mine certainly wasn't going to anytime soon. And not until they have enough of a 'platform' of attention and some very basic building blocks in order to start to pick up from the environment.

My son is still seriously behind, but 90% of what he can now speak, understand, tolerate and comprehend is from ABA.

You do need someone to build trust, tune in and totally respect your child. No stopping stimming, no sitting down for a long time, they kids are only 3. I did mine for months with my child hopping all over the place, in tiny, very brief bits in between play with plenty of patience, rewards and confidence building. I know others do it for hours but I really couldn't get my child to do that without driving him absolutely insane. So trust your instincts and your child's reactions.

ABA is hard to 'generalise' - so don't think you can do a few 'do this' and hope it translates to every day life. Try and educate yourself and the family to mentally get down to your child's level. So using language very, very simply. Model your child's response, say 'Hi Mum' to him, help him with any changes he finds difficult with visuals, or letting him have enough of a routine to feel less anxious, and tackle behaviour by looking at the reasons why he kicks off, thinking though how you can prevent/adjust or help him through it.

Good luck. flowers

WellTidy Thu 15-Sep-16 18:09:38

We've done ABA with Ds2 who is 4.4 yo over the last year and a bit. It has been incredible and I cannot praise it enough. DS is in the more severe end of the spectrum, and before we started ABA couldn't speak at all beyond making a b or d sound, had no imitation skills, was very frustrated and hadn't developed for over a year.

We started before he was even diagnosed with ASD, but we were sure that he had autism. We had done state led and private Slt (the private course was 20 sessions) and he had made no progress. We had done lots of play with him, but he wasn't willing to engage.

The 'do this' SD is part of the non verbal imitation programme. Without being able or motivated to imitate, he could not develop. Imitation allows him to progress in so many ways. He developed a love of puzzles which was amazing seeing as before we started ABA, he would just throw a puzzle across the room. He now talks, albeit lots of echolalia, but there is some purposeful and expressive language in there. He has been taught to wear a variety of shoes and coats, incredible as he would only wear one pair of clarks leather shoes all year round which I had bought in every size.

We were lucky as a friend recommended a lead consultant, who has been brilliant. She is full of ideas and really understands DS. She is ambitious for him, but understands his struggles. If you are south east ish and want a recommendation, please pm me.

Mumoftwinsandanother Sun 18-Sep-16 22:26:06

Hi also do ABA for DS and am very impressed with the results. It is a question of finding the right consultant and tutors. We tried a number before we found the right consultant. Agree with everything upthread about no sitting, lots of motivational activities to keep it fun. I don't think it produces robotic learning at all, one of the main keys of good consultants/tutors is to ensure that anything learned is generalised/understood in lots of settings before being mastered.

sweetmum4 Thu 22-Sep-16 13:57:21

I have contacted WellTidy as suggested in her post above to get a recommendation for a consultant and was told she will not provide the details because she has not seen any of my posts. I have a very severe 14 year old daughter and have been a member of this site for over 7 years. I do read posts whenever I have a chance but rarely have the time to post due to not having the time and sheer exhaustion. Does this mean that I'm not entitled to even be told the name of the consultant? Why offer to share the information via personal message and then refuse to do so when someone asks? I am very upset and disappointed; the aim of this forum I hoped was to help each other; not only the people you know or who post regularly.

WellTidy Thu 22-Sep-16 18:55:29

That's very unfair of you sweetmum. I had actually PMed you the details of our consultant before seeing your reply on this post. As you will have seen from my PM, I am very supportive. The reason I didn't reply to your pm of only yesterday asking for the consultant's details was that I had asked our consultant whether she was willing for me to give them out to someone without a posting history on MN. She confirmed today that it would be OK for me to pass them on, so I did. And I have been in work all day today.

My offer to provide the details of our consultant was to the OP in any event.


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