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Kid Companions- Chewelry: Mar 30, 2010

March 30, 2010

Applied Behavior Analysis : Maximum Learning Efficiency

Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy (ABA) for Children with Autism teaches them social, motor, and verbal behaviors as well as reasoning skills. This treatment is required because many children with Autism do not intuitively pick-up these behaviors. Typically developing children learn many things from their environment long before going to school without needing too much guidance. ABA is all about how to set up the environment to enable Autistic children to learn.

Who Does Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy With the Child?
ABA-based techniques can be used by a parent, counselor, or certified behavior analyst or a special education teacher. Parents can receive training to use this approach with their child at home. Children can also be enrolled in schools and clinics that specialize in ABA treatment. These schools and the fees for a behavior analyst are very expensive. To be most effective, this approach must start early due to critical brain development that occurs during the first five years of life. Moreover, the therapy must be very intensive.

How Expensive Is ABA?
When I say ABA is very expensive, these are the figures Business News used in January 2010: “Advocates prefer a proposal that would require insurers to pay up to $72,000 annually for the treatment of people up to age 21… Blake Williamson, vice president and senior medical director for care management at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, suggested an alternative on Tuesday of providing up to $32,000 annually of coverage for children ages 3 through 7, with lesser coverage for older children… Last year, the Senate passed legislation that would have required coverage of up to $55,000 annually for applied behavioral analysis for children younger than 15. But the bill never received a vote in the House,…”

How Many Hours a Week Does It Take for ABA to Be Successful?
When I say extensive therapy, these are the hours I am talking about. The best outcomes have been seen when a child receives 40 hours per week of behavioral treatment each week for two years, with an additional year devoted to decreasing the hours of behavioral treatment while increasing the number of hours in school. The idea is to provide a child with planned interventions throughout the day to allow a child with autism to learn in their natural environment and ultimately catch up to their developing peers.

Is ABA Effective and Worth the Time and Expense?
Myers SM, Johnson CP, Council on Children with Disabilities (2007). "Management of children with autism spectrum disorders" stated : “sustained gains in academic performance, adaptive behavior, and language, with outcomes significantly better than control groups…”

“ABA is well-established and no other educational treatment is considered probably-efficacious, and that intensive ABA treatment, carried out by trained therapists, is demonstrated effective in enhancing global functioning in pre-school children.” Eikeseth S (2009). "Outcome of comprehensive psycho-educational interventions for young children with autism".

Other studies have shown enough positive results in Autistic children and shown that a lot of money invested in these children at an early age will be much less costly than the support they will need if early intervention in the form of ABA is denied. Follow-ups have shown that many of these children can now succeed in life without costly special education and residential services.

 What Are the Main Points of ABA?
The Autistic child’s behavior is reinforced by a gentle process with a system of rewards and consequences when he or she performs each of the steps correctly. It teaches them, in their natural environment, to be able and want to communicate.

Behavioral Analysis Therapy is a comprehensive intervention, carried out in every setting and every available moment. Parents of Autistic children can never do all this alone; neither financially nor physically. Supports from all fronts are rightfully required.

Do you think governments should pay the cost of Behavior Analysis Therapy (ABA) for Children with Autism?

Related post: Mar 23 Special Needs Stats and News-Health-care Bill Passes Both Houses  

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