ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder is a condition that is related to brain development and impacts how a child can perceive the surroundings and interact with the people in it. This influence causes many problems and makes it difficult for them to behave appropriately in unfamiliar environments, especially when socializing with other people. The ASD also limits the behavior capabilities and understanding of the individual while increasing the chances of repetitive behavior patterns. The word ‘Spectrum‘ is used with Autism for kids & Adults Disorder because there is a wide range of symptoms and severity, and those too impact every other child and young adult differently.
Parents often ask the same questions about their children and their condition before considering various treatment options for their kid who has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Since all the families only care about one thing, about the well-being of their loved one and ensuring that they can live a life with a bright future and one that is filled with happiness and opportunities. What is ABA [Applied Behavior Analysis]? Is it an effective type of treatment for children facing autism? Why is ABA therapy effective in helping children overcome their symptoms of autism? Are there any other better and more effective treatments than ABA therapy? All of these questions need to be answered so that the parents can be at peace that their child is in capable hands and is being given the best treatment by the best professionals.
Individualization of A Child’s Autism Treatment Plan
When it comes to monitoring, intervention development, and execution in ABA therapy treatment, the autistic individual is the primary focus of the service. The whole treatment revolves around the unique needs and requirements of the patient so that they can be offered the best special care. And that is why the designing and execution of ABA therapeutic programs needs to be individualized. There are so many factors and variants to consider that impact every autistic person differently that it is impossible for an ABA therapy program that worked for one patient to prove successful for another. This practice is not just to fulfill the ethical requirements imposed by the government but is undoubtedly clinically relevant. Each autistic child lacks different skills, has different strengths and weaknesses, and has unique triggers. Many more factors create the complete profile of an individual who has been diagnosed with autism, and all of them need to be considered when the ABA program is being designed. The reason autism is called a spectrum disorder is because there are far too many differences in the characteristics that every person may be facing.
To better understand this spectrum, here is an example. The objective of teaching the pretend play activity to a child who lacks this skill will be a high priority goal. However, the same goal will not be given the same attention for another child who exhibits adequate pretend play skills beforehand since they already have the pretend play skill in their repertoire. Designing an ABA program that will help a child overcome their lack of skills for pretend play activities when they display deficits in this skill-set is the clinically appropriate way to go about it.
By now, the need for individualization when creating ABA programs and treatments since they need to consider the child’s learning strengths strongly and skill deficits should be crystal clear. Through accurate implementation, the person dealing with autism can develop their learning strength and build them to fill up the skills they lack. ABA therapy programs can NEVER be ‘one size fits all’, and all the good programs rely on accurate assessment tools such as interviews, observations, clinical assessments, and collaboration with parents and the family of the autistic individual. Through these various techniques, professionals can identify the strong areas where the patient excels and all the weaknesses and skills that the patient lacks.
The Ways Autism Treatment Programs Are Individualized?
Below are some of the ways through which individualization in an ABA therapy program can be achieved:
- Highly Consider the interests and preferences of the individual diagnosed with autism. Create different ways to incorporate these into their unique ABA program
- Do Consider the social and cultural values of the child’s family, along with the top concerns.
- Through multiple clinical methods, explore the child’s weaknesses, strengths, and skill deficits in major domains – socialization, interaction, communication, self-care, language, motor skills, etc.
- Promote collaboration and interaction between a child’s family, other professionals that are directly related to the person’s life
The list above has not been created in full detail and therefore is not exhaustive; however, it provides an illustration and general idea of how a child’s ABA treatment program can be individualized to perfectly suit their specific needs.
How ABA Therapy Individually Helps Treat Individuals with Autism
When it comes to treating children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, ABA therapy programs have proved to be the most effective type of treatment. It helps create extremely structured environments where the surrounding conditions are regulated and optimized to facilitate the child’s learning, development, and growth in areas they lack most. Over time, these systematic programs are changed around the individual to accurately mimic how things would go in genuine social interaction. The ABA therapy program primarily creates a focused and productive environment around the child that perfectly fits their needs, requirements, and unique conditions. Through distraction-free, one-on-one learning techniques, ABA therapy programs train autistic individuals the appropriate behaviors to observe in uncomfortable situations. The learning and focused environment structure encourage and motivate the child to acquire new skills and grow more effectively. These surroundings need to be changed over time to learn to adjust to new and unfamiliar environments that they will encounter in their lives. Therefore, they need to learn to behave, respond and cope when they encounter such a situation.
ABA programs are so widely popular because they help the child in a way that allows them to become independent in the near future. The main premise of these training routines is teaching the child how to learn, grow, and develop cognitive and physical skills and abilities so that they will not need to depend on structured and specialized environmental services and treatments in time. In short, the ultimate goal of ABA programs is to allow the child to gain independence by developing new skills which encourage positive behaviors and reduce the chances of misbehaving.
ABA Therapy Effectively Treats Children with Autism
It is a fact that Autism Spectrum Disorder affects every individual differently, and while two cases might be slightly similar, they will never be precisely the same. Each case and individual requires a unique custom designed ABA program to accurately meet their needs and special conditions. Some individuals diagnosed with autism might be mildly impacted by it, while some may be profoundly affected. Applied Behavior Analysis therapy helps design and implement individualized programs to improve communication, social and learning skills by positive reinforcement of the children and young adults with autism. Many experts and professionals at the top of the medical research industry consider ABA therapy and programs to be the gold-standard treatment for individuals diagnosed with autism.
Following benefits can be provided to autistic people through ABA therapeutic programs:
- ABA therapy programs are fully supported by scientific research and evidence, more than any other treatment option
- ABA therapy practice helps both the learner and the family, parents, and caregiver
- ABA therapy sessions teach skills necessary for socialization and communication
- Parents, teachers, and professionals can capitalize on the skills of the children
- Children are better positioned if they are enabled independent function
- ABA therapy prepares a child to advocate for him or herself
ABA or Applied Behavior Analysis has shown tremendous help when used to treat autistic individuals of different ages. These individuals have increased their cognitive and physical capabilities through ABA programs, understood the appropriate behaviors in public spaces, and learned skills, communication, and social interactions. And by introducing all of these learnings, developments, and skills into the lives of these children has made them fully independent and capable of leading a happy life filled with quality and opportunities.