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1675 SW Marlow Ave, Suite 200
Portland, OR 97225
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WHAT IS AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER (ASD)?
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. Several factors may influence the development of autism, and it is often accompanied by sensory sensitivities and medical issues such as gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, seizures or sleep disorders, as well as mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression and attention issues.
Indicators of autism usually appear by age 2 or 3. Some associated development delays can appear even earlier, and often, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Research shows that early intervention leads to positive outcomes later in life for people with autism.
HOW DO YOU TREAT AUTISM?
Applied behavior analysis is one of several therapies that teach appropriate behavior. Therapists use a gentle approach that rewards helpful behaviors and minimizes those that are harmful or could affect learning.
During therapy, an ABA therapist determines each patient’s needs and then devises a program that focuses on behaviors that need to be taught or reduced. As sessions progress, providers direct some procedures while learners direct others. Students get many chances to practice skills daily. Learners can apply new skills in planned and natural settings.
In a recent Forbes article, Ronit Molko Ph.D., BCBA-D writes, “There has been much debate around whether services delivered in a center are better than services delivered in the home and vice versa. Some research suggests that an ideal program may be a hybrid mix of both home-based and center-based services.”
Virtually every community in the U.S. has local ABA therapists who not only work with learners but train caregivers, parents and family members to provide support to pupils in various environments.
WHAT IS APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS?
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a therapy based on the science of learning and behavior.
Behavior analysis helps us to understand:
- How behavior works
- How behavior is affected by the environment
- How learning takes place
ABA therapy applies our understanding of how behavior works to real situations. The goal is to increase behaviors that are helpful and decrease behaviors that are harmful or affect learning.
ABA therapy programs can help:
- Increase language and communication skills
- Improve attention, focus, social skills, memory, and academics
- Decrease problem behaviors
The methods of behavior analysis have been used and studied for decades. They have helped many kinds of learners gain different skills – from healthier lifestyles to learning a new language. Therapists have used ABA to help children with autism and related developmental disorders since the 1960s.
WHO WILL BE PROVIDING MY CHILD’S ABA THERAPY?
Your child, whether from our Kadiant team in Colorado or otherwise, will typically receive therapy from an accredited and licensed Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). BCBAs have their master’s degree in a relevant field, have spent more than 250 hours either with clients or in the classroom studying how to work with children with autism. They’ve also sat and passed their BCBA Exam and are fully licensed by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), the professional organization that credentials BCBAs.
Additionally, working with the BCBA will be a team of supervisors and behavior technicians, whose job it is to support the BCBA and provide the direct behavioral therapy your child needs.
HOW CAN I FIND ABA SERVICES FOR MY CHILD WITH AUTISM
Describing a typical ABA session is tricky, because ABA therapy sessions are customized for each child. No two children are alike, so neither are their ABA treatment plans.
Your child’s BCBA, during assessment, will determine how many hours your child needs a week in therapy, how big your team is, and how intensive your child’s care will be. Our clinicians will also work with you to develop this treatment plan that is unique to your child and based on their skills assessment.
Most sessions include several types of therapies and interactions that prepare your child for a variety of situations outside the therapy setting.
ARE THERE OPPORTUNITIES FOR PARENT TRAINING?
Not only does our staff work with your child, but we also provide you as the parent or guardian training on how to help manage your child’s behaviors. ABA parent training is an important piece of any treatment plan when working with children and adolescents. As caregivers, parents are responsible for helping their child learn and develop by guiding them and teaching them skills and behaviors that will help them in everyday life.
ABA PROGRAMS HAVE POSITIVE RESULTS
A Wikipedia entry discussing applied behavior analysis states, “The American Academy of Pediatrics concluded that the benefit of ABA-based interventions in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) has been well documented.”
When professionals practice ABA, they carefully observe clients, keep records and analyze their findings. These steps allow them to understand even the most challenging and confusing behaviors. Once practitioners have a clear understanding of their clients, they can modify plans based on their needs. Therapists evaluate desirable and undesirable actions and use interventions to reduce maladaptive behavior.
Board certified therapists who provide ABA are highly skilled professionals. Some have advanced degrees in behavior management and autism. Many are specialists in areas like education, psychology, and social work. Providers take classes and learn in real-life situations that teach them to observe, manage, and analyze challenging behaviors.
HOW LONG DOES ABA THERAPY LAST?
Every child is different, and so are their needs. When our BCBAs create your child’s treatment plan, they do so with a goal in mind and a timeline. The goals can be big or small—potty training, saying a few more words, or eliminating aggressive behavior—and the timeline can be anywhere from 6 months to a few years. Regardless, your child will frequently receive evaluations by our BCBAs that will seek to analyze where they’re at, if they’re making progress, and what should be done differently if anything, so those goals and timelines can be met.