Thursday, December 15, 2011

ABA Therapy Uses Repetition to Teach Independence

For many outsiders looking at ABA Therapy for the first time, there are a lot of questions. One of the most common questions parents ask is how teaching a child to repeat an answer that they are given to a question can teach them anything beyond rote memorization. While it is true that initial goals of ABA Therapy include a great deal of teaching children to mimic answers to questions, the therapy is part of a rewiring process that teaches their brains to produce nerve synapses that many brains perform naturally. As this development occurs, children develop the ability to think critically and independently, ultimately leading to skills and functions that help make them virtually indistinguishable from their peers.

Many critics of ABA Training have seen the therapy only a few times and formed an opinion. The fact is that ABA Therapy is the only treatment approved by most health insurance companies for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. The reason for this is that it simply works. For decades, ABA Therapy has been preparing children with varying degrees of ASD for school, work, and other social situations. While it is most effective when introduced during toddler and preschool years, a majority of people with an ASD can see a significant improvement with ABA Training at any age.

Repetition plays a strong part in ABA Therapy. A child is asked a question and provided the answer. The child is then asked the same question and prompted to respond. Clues are often given, though over time they become vaguer until the child is expected to answer without prompting. This is a valuable tool, because it helps not only teach the child to properly respond to questions and requests, but because it helps providers teach children what types of behavior will get results.

When a question is asked, only appropriate answers and behavior will garner any result. Any inappropriate behaviors are ignored, teaching children over time that proper behavior is the only way to gain attention or favor. While answering questions helps children to learn new things, this aspect of ABA Therapy also teaches fundamentals of behavior and of giving importance to human interaction over other stimuli, things that other children learn much differently.

In conclusion, repetition is truly a fundamental part of ABA Training, but it is not in an effort to teach rote memorization. Only through repetition can thinking patterns within the brain adapt and change themselves, and only through repetition can these children be taught the basic fundamentals of behavior and social interaction. While to outsiders this repetition may make little sense, for parents who have seen it teach their children to think independently, the value of this aspect of ABA Therapy is remarkably obvious.

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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