Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to challenges in social and communication skills. As the name suggests, it occurs anywhere in the spectrum and as such, one could have very minimal challenges or a lot of challenges. Affected individuals often (but not always and certainly not all) exhibit some common behaviors such as having delayed language development, avoiding eye contact, possessing repetitive behaviors or inability to regulate emotions.
For more information on Autism, you may refer to the Association for Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT) information directory here.
If you are a parent and you suspect your child is exhibiting behaviors indicative of Autism, it is important that you seek immediate advice from medical professionals. In Malaysia, you have the option to seek out Developmental Paediatricians or Clinical Psychologists for assessment and diagnosis, and the sooner you do, the better it is as early intervention has been proven to improve results.
WHAT IS ABA?
ABA refers to the use of learning principles to understand behavior. The systematic application of interventions based on these learning principles improve behaviors. To date, ABA is the most well-researched method in delivering effective treatment for individuals with Autism. In fact, early intervention using the ABA approach has been scientifically proven to benefit children with Autism.
ABA uses a systematic approach that continually analyzes behaviors through detailed assessments and instructions so individuals with Autism may improve in their language development, social skills and living skills.
Studies have shown that with ABA, young children may acquire school readiness skills which would enable them to become successful learners and lead normal lives as they grow up, provided they have had access to the right intervention.
WHAT MAKES ABA EFFECTIVE IN THE TREATMENT OF AUTISM?
The way an individual with Autism processes information is very different, and because of this, learning the way a typical child does becomes a difficult task for many of our kids with Autism. Skills taught must be broken down and each skill is then taught individually so the child can learn. This requires time, data and processes in place. This is what makes ABA successful. The right practice of ABA ensures the right behavior principles are applied correctly by systematically assessing the skill deficits, planning treatment goals, training the people who will be involved in the implementation of the treatment goals, monitoring for progress and revising the plan as needed. This also means that every individual receives customized program, allowing specific targets to be met effectively.
Substantial progress can be seen in children who subscribe to ABA based early intervention programs, often starting out on 1:1 therapy settings before transitioning to group settings.