Monday, October 8, 2012

What Does ABA Therapy Do?

Whenever you look into ABA therapy, you will find that it is incredibly complex. There are certainly training courses that can help parents learn to offer the training at home, which can be amazingly effective, but if you are just looking into the therapy for the first time, it can certainly seem overwhelming. So what exactly is ABA therapy, and how does it work? To put it simply, it is a training and therapy program that helps children with autism spectrum disorders learn new ideas, behaviors, and actions. Of course, it is really much more than this.
ABA therapy is the most effective form of treatment and symptom management available for children with autism. It offers discrete trial teaching, which in a nutshell means breaking down concepts and behaviors (such as brushing teeth) into the most basic possible steps. These steps are then taught through repetition, with prompts given at first to help a child learn to mimic the behavior and with the prompts gradually taken away until it can be completed without them. While many parents write this off as memorization rather than actual learning of a concept, this is a misconception.
While children with autism spectrum disorders are taught certain behaviors and verbalizations through ABA therapy, it is much more than just memorization. Initial behaviors are the result of memorizing, but over time, the therapy helps kids learn how to take in new concepts and behaviors on their own. This is because the therapy helps to create new pathways within the brain that make it possible for children with autism spectrum disorders to start learning in the same manner as their peers. The treatment is actually incredibly effective and is the closest thing that we have to a cure for autism.
There is no doubt that ABA therapy is not a cure for autism spectrum disorder, but it offers incredible symptom reduction. It can help children learn behavior skills, learn to adapt to a classroom setting, and learn to verbalize. It also helps teach the basic activities associated with daily living. Understanding ABA therapy without watching a lesson can be difficult, but when you understand the result, it can help you understand why it is such an important part of caring for children with autism. ABA classes can be incredibly effective for teaching parents how to apply the therapy, and with DVD programs available, they are now accessible to many more parents than ever before.
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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