Why is #ABAtherapy so misunderstood? A word from one of our parents:
When we started this autism journey we did what most parents with a new diagnosis would do, we googled treatments for autism, and a bunch of results came back for ABA, now being new to this autism thing I did not know what ABA was, but based on what I saw on the internet it was either great or awful, depending on what article you read, and I read them all. At the time of diagnosis our son was in Speech therapy and when I asked our trusted therapist, she told us that it would be the worst thing we could do, they would train our son like a dog, and when he did something incorrectly they would punish him.
Her reaction did not make sense to me, as many of the articles that I read about ABA therapy said it was the most effective treatment for autism spectrum disorder that used positive reinforcement, so I read more and I asked other people, including his teacher at pre-school, they all told me how helpful they thought this type of approach could be for my son. So back online I went to find a ABA therapist, of the dozen company’s called only one would do in home therapy, and we had decided that would be best for our set of circumstances. The next week we met with a BCBA and a line therapist at our home, we asked a bunch of questions and they observed our son and how he interacted with people and behaved in our home, they recommended ABA for our son, and insurance would cover it!
The plan made sense, they would put together programs that would cater to our son’s strengths and weakness, data would be collected clear cut graphs that could demonstrate progress, we were very interested and nervous. Therapy started a week later, I’m not going to lie the first few weeks were rough, getting my son used to sitting in a chair at a table and attending to tasks took some time and there was a lot of crying, not distress just frustration, by week three we had turned a corner and targets were being set and met! We are now almost four years on, therapy is my son’s favorite time of day, we have a wonderful team of therapists that care about our family and do everything they can to help us succeed.
After all of the worry and reading and second guessing about ABA, for this family working with Autism Chicago has been the best decision we have made for our son, we have seen progress that we would not have even dreamed of four years ago, so if you are doing internet research and trying to decide what to do, I hope you stumble across this post and you give ABA a chance.