If you haven’t worked with me in my Group Coaching Program for Parents of Children with Autism, you should know that I am an ABA LOVER!
I always say I am not “formally trained”, I’m street trained!
Meaning I’ve watched it being done in my home for YEARS, and when the therapists left, I made it a part of my identity as a mother to my daughter with Autism and my neurotypical son.
I think one of the reasons I am such a strong supporter of it is that Julianna thrived while receiving it and….
I believe behavior is the first language of all human beings.
If my preverbal baby can’t talk, she communicates through her behavior.
If she uses behavior to get what she needs, I can use functional behavior to teach her what she needs to live an independent life.
ABA isn’t just another item on the endless list of things you “should” try…. Nope.
It’s about diving deep into what makes our kids tick and using that intel to better their lives and ours.
It’s your ticket to parenting your child with Autism effectively.
Think of ABA as the gold standard, not because some therapist, doctor, or teacher said so but because IT DELIVERS.
A study done out of UCLA by Dr. Ivar Lovaas, showed us that with ABA, 90% of the kids in his study saw improvement in their daily living skills and 47% of those children had indistinguishable or recovered signs of AUTISM.
The science can also be used to treat behavioral issues such as:
- drug/substance abuse
- eating disorders
- hyper sexual behavior
- anger issues, and more!
ABA is taught in 2 ways: Discrete Trial Training (DTT) and Natural Environment Teaching (NET).
DTT is about breaking down big scary tasks into tiny, conquerable steps, celebrating every victory, no matter how small.
Natural Environment Teaching (NET), on the other hand, is our covert ops, sneaking learning into the things our kids already love, making every moment a chance to grow.
ABA is based on what works, constantly tweaking the plan, because our kids aren’t static; they’re as dynamic as life itself.
The way I break it down is…
What didn’t work?
What can you do differently?
Then you go off and implement, come back and report.
You keep tweaking and testing till you arrive at GOAL.
And the victories could be sparking curiosity about the world from your child who would never engage with their family and/or environment, to unlocking words trapped inside, to squashing self-harm and nurturing independence.
And as much as I love ABA, it wouldn’t be responsible for me to not mention the bad rap some have given it.
There are adults with Autism that report their exposure to ABA was a form of child abuse. ☹️
I acknowledge this pain and I don’t dispute what they’ve experienced.
But… I have 2 theories on this….
First, just like anything in life the way we do things evolves over time.
We used to knock pregnant women out right before they delivered, a practice called “twilight sleep”. This is unthinkable now but was widely practiced for years all over the world until it was found to have potentially deadly side effects for mother and child.
Eventually the practice was banned and other safer measures were introduced to relieve pain during childbirth.
Even though ABA has been around for years, it’s relatively new compared to other therapies. I still refer to the world of ABA as the WILD WILD WEST. The standard is evolving and with time I believe all will be practicing it in a way that best suits the child.
Secondly, just like you could come across a bad doctor, therapist, or teacher who just suck at what they do, you could also come across a bad practonier of ABA
But if you have a bad experience with a doctor or teacher, you don’t throw out hospitals or schools because of it….
You just find better doctors or teachers.
I can report that the only type of ABA that I saw in my home and advocate for in the Champions for Our Children Masterclass is a loving pairing relationship between teacher/therapist and child.
To me ABA is about fighting for our kids’ right to a full, vibrant life and learning it is ESSENTIAL to parenting our kids.
In the end, ABA is more than therapy….
it’s a battle cry for all of us who are committed to doing whatever it takes to give our children the life we dreamed of before the diagnosis came.
PS. Are you ready to become the MOST IMPORTANT TEACHER in your child’s life? If so, that is what my Group Coaching Program for Parents of Children with Autism is all about.