Saturday, January 15, 2011

Applied Behavior Analysis Offers More Than Memorization

If you look at what many parents who have never tried ABA therapy have to say about it, you will find that the biggest misconception is that the therapy offers nothing more than rote memorization. To an outsider, it can be a very easy mistake to make, but the simple fact is that Applied Behavior Analysis is much more than this. In fact, it is the only treatment for autism accepted by most school systems and insurance companies alike and the reason for this is that there are countless studies and patients who can prove that it works.
ABA therapy starts off with memorization as a main goal. Discrete trial teaching is all about repetition and helping a child memorize the basic steps that will help him or her to complete a basic action, such as learning to get dressed, brush their teeth, or even ride the school bus. These lessons depend very much on memorization in order to be effective, and even use prompting to help a child memorize the action or behavior. However, memorization is only a small piece of the overall picture.
One thing that parents of children with an autism spectrum disorder understand is that these children learn differently than their peers. While most children are able to convey emotions and to make inferences based solely on what they see around them, autistic children need help learning these ideas and concepts. With ABA therapy, memorization not only helps them learn behaviors, but it helps to create new pathways in the brain that help them learn to pick up concepts and ideas from what they observe. Over time, this actually helps make them much more able to learn in the same way as their peers and can help them learn to function in the same classroom.
While it can be easy for a casual observer to look at Applied Behavior Analysis and write it off as sheer memorization, it is certainly much more than this. ABA is an incredibly effective teaching tool and a necessity for children who suffer from autism spectrum disorder. These children are highly intelligent and capable, and with the right training, they can learn to function almost identically to their peers. As parents, we all want our children to receive the highest quality education. ABA therapy offers that, and it offers hope to parents who just want to see their child stop suffering from the symptoms of these disorders.
Garrett Butch is the father of a 6 year old with autism and the founder of Maximum Potential Group.
Maximum Potential has developed courses that train parents and school systems how to work with children with autism.

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