Opportunities like Thea’s give behavior analysts a chance to increase the understanding of ABA to those outside the field. If we continue to interact and collaborate with as well as learn from and educate professionals in the educational and medical fields we have a very exciting future. The benefit for practitioners is huge, but the benefit to our clients and students is incalculable.
My hope is to draw your attention to Dr. Potegal’s recent claim that a tantrum may be a new scientific concept. Are we really clueless as to what tantrums are or should we continue to focus on such studies? The response is beyond this post, but it might serve to encourage behavior analysts to better disseminate ABA and its science, which has existed for close to 50 years.
Participants included 60 four-year-old children,. The participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups. Each group participated in a different activity for the duration of nine minutes. The first group watched “a very popular fantastical cartoon about an animated sponge that lives under the sea,” clearly referring to SpongeBob SquarePants. The second group watched “a realistic Public Broadcasting Service cartoon about a typical US preschool-aged boy,” rumored to be Caillou. Finally, the third group colored with crayons and markers. Immediately following the activity, participants were administered a number of tasks that measured executive function.
The Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) and Skills® participated in this past Saturday’s Stephanie’s Day, hosted by CBS Los Angeles.
It was a fun-filled day—meeting families of children with autism, relaying valuable resources and a whole lot more. Check out the video and the slideshow for a behind-the-scenes look at the successful event!
The goal of any ABA therapist is to help improve the life of the child they work with and their family using the principles of behavior analysis. By using NET, these real life applications are addressed. Throughout this past month I have learned that as you get to know a child better, you are more equipped for NET because you know what generalized skills the child could really use and are able to use reinforcers that you understand are the child’s favorite to create these effective changes and improvements in their life. Such skills as answering the phone when it rings, asking for the child’s favorite movie when they want to watch it, and responding appropriately to a sibling make life for the child and the family a whole lot easier.
It’s amazing how some of the most helpful ideas come from the people that actually need them the most. Just 17 years ago, my 20 year old cousin, Matthew, was diagnosed with a somewhat rare and misunderstood disorder called autism. At that time, Matthew was one of the 2,500 children in the United States with autism, which was a developmental disability that nobody in my family knew very much about. Through research and doctor’s visits we were able to find our way, but throughout his adolescence, we could only wish to receive the support, knowledge, and motivation from other families in our situation. Back then, autism diagnosis was just too few and far between for us to get the necessary resources and community involvement that we needed. It was not until Matthew was a young adult that the prevalence of autism started taking such an abrupt increase in numbers around the world, and an active autism community of families, researchers, and organizations began to take shape.
Part 6 in the series following Jack Riley and his family as Jack gets ABA Therapy for autism.
Haircuts can pose a challenge for children with autism and their parents. For many children with autism, sensory sensitivity coupled with high anxiety can make a visit to the hair salon a traumatic experience that ultimately results in a tantrum. The experience is stressful for parents as well, especially if they are visiting a salon that is not familiar with autism. As a result, many parents dread taking their child for a haircut and often put it off as long as they can.
I can’t pretend to speak to why the rest of the autism community focuses on the difficulties associated with autism, but I can speak to why it may appear that we at CARD, and other people in the applied behavior analysis (ABA) community, focus on areas of difficulty. Put simply, it’s because these are the areas that people ask us for help with. No one goes to a treatment provider and asks for help dealing with what’s great about their child— they don’t need to, they simply appreciate it every day. But it’s quite true that there are thousands of strengths associated with autism. Any attempt at a list is going to sound like I am stereotyping people, which would be ridiculous. But here are a couple strengths that come to mind.
“This webcast will provide a practical, informative introduction to applied behavior analysis (ABA),” says Dr. Granpeesheh. “This form of treatment is widely practiced in North America and many other continents and has been empirically proven as the most effective form of autism treatment.”