The Autism Blog

What is ABA again?

It seems that everyone is using applied behavioral analysis (ABA) in working with children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), when in fact, we are using it all the time with each other! When we say hi to our colleagues at work and they respond in a positive way, we are all more likely to greet them again the next day. The principle of positive reinforcement is at work in this example.

When ABA is used while working with children with ASD, it is sometimes confused with a specific type of program, such as discrete trial training (DTT). It is important to understand that ABA is a framework for the practice of a science and not a specific program. That is, ABA is a set of principles that guide how we all change our behaviors based on events that happen in our environment. These principles often impact learning. Read full post »

Treatments Used With Individuals With Autism

Alphabet Soup: ABA. DTT. PRT. RDI. DIR.

These are just a few of the acronyms for a growing number of treatments used with individuals with autism.  If you recently received a diagnosis for your child you may have searched the internet and found a bewildering array of possibilities. Even if it has been years since your child’s diagnosis, you probably hear about new treatments and wonder if you should give them a try. Read full post »

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff- How to Decide on Treatments and Therapies for Your Child

As a parent, you have likely read books or heard stories of children who “recovered” from autism or made significant gains using a particular treatment. These anecdotal (based on personal observation, rather than scientific investigation) reports can be both a blessing and a curse as they inspire hope, but may also lead to disappointment when they fail to provide the hoped for results. We don’t yet know the cause(s) of autism; therefore, there is no definitive treatment protocol. What seems to work for one child may not work for another.

With 1 in 110 children diagnosed today, autism is in the news more and more. You may have seen recent news coverage on several articles in the Journal of Pediatrics that looked at studies of the efficacy (effectiveness) of treatments for autism and concluded that that there was little to no evidence that the treatments evaluated were effective for children with autism. But the brief news blast didn’t report the entire summary of the studies. Bryan King, MD, psychiatrist and director of Seattle Children’s Autism Center, points out that “The absence of evidence does not mean that treatments don’t work. I believe the lack of evidence points out the need for more information.”

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A Visit With The Dentist

Oral hygiene is an essential part of a person’s overall health, but it can often be a struggle for children with autism, particularly among those with sensory issues. For example, the taste and texture of toothpaste and the toothbrush may be difficult for some children to handle, making it hard to incorporate best practices in dental hygiene as part of their daily routine. For parents struggling to help their child maintain their oral health, we sat down and spoke with Travis Nelson, DDS, MPH and have created a video that offers tips and tricks on how to overcome the challenges you may be experiencing with your child on this matter.

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Home Sweet Home- Where Will My Child Live?

As parents, we often dream of the day when our son or daughter will be able to move out of our home and begin to create a home of their own. But what happens when your child has autism?  Will they be able to live on their own or will they need support? If so, how much support? And who pays for all this? Read full post »