Development and supervision of early intensive behavioral intervention for autism
Many peer-reviewed research studies have shown early, intensive behavioral intervention is effective for treatment of autism. This involves starting a quality ABA program at a young age (as soon as possible following diagnosis) for many hours each week. The Surgeon General of the United States, The National Institutes of Health, and the American Academy of Pediatrics have endorsed ABA for autism treatment.
In an ABA treatment program, skills a child needs to learn are broken down into small steps and are systematically taught using repeated practice and reinforcement. As the child demonstrates mastery of initial skills, more complex skills are addressed and reinforcement systems are faded to more natural schedules. There is an emphasis on programming for generalization from the start of treatment, to promote use of skills in “real life” situations. Data collection is used to monitor progress throughout the program.
ABA treatment programs are individualized to each child, based on skills he/she needs to learn. Some of these skills may include:
- attending such as making eye contact
- language/communication such as requesting snacks or toys, following directions, and answering questions
- social interactions such as showing things to other people, making comments during play, and responding to emotions of others
- play such as completing a puzzle independently or playing a game with a peer
- daily living activities such as toileting, eating, sleeping, dressing, washing hands, and brushing teeth
- community inclusion such as eating in a restaurant, walking with adults, making a purchase in a store, or attending an event (e.g., birthday party, religious ceremony)