ABA: Applied Behavioral Analysis
“Behavior Analysis is the scientific study of behavior. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the application of the principles of learning and motivation from Behavior Analysis, and the procedures and technology derived from those principles, to the solution of problems of social significance. Many decades of research have validated treatments based on ABA.” (centerforautism.com) Clear as mud, right?
“ABA is widely recognized as a safe and effective treatment for autism.” (autismspeaks.org)
When my three year-old son was first given the diagnosis of ASD (autism spectrum disorder) in the winter of 2014, I was in shock over the massive amounts of therapy recommended. Among them was a therapy called ABA. If you’re new to all of this, then you are likely as confused as I was. I had never heard of ABA and when I asked the doctor who gave the initial diagnosis, the best she could do was suggest a parent’s workshop at a local hospital. Later that evening, as I re-reading my son’s 15-page diagnosis paperwork in more depth, I’ll never forget seeing the recommendation of 40 HOURS of ABA therapy a WEEK. I legitimately thought it was a typo.
So, the research began. I spent hours every night for weeks reading and researching, trying to grasp exactly what ABA was, and why I couldn’t find anyone around who had used it with their child. The conclusion I came to is that it’s just too damn expensive, and it’s only been recently recognized and funded by insurance companies. Now, ABA clinics and in-home companies are popping up all over the place, and the wait lists are growing at exponential rates. With a lot of good fortune (and a lot of hard work), my husband and I have been able to secure an in-home therapist for our son with the magical piece of paper that our insurance company recognizes as legitimate, covering 25 hours a week for two years.
I won’t attempt to explain the ins and outs of ABA therapy because, frankly, I don’t know. What I will be sharing in this section of my blog is my first-hand experience with it as a mother of a three year-old boy who is engaging in ABA within an in-home setting. Keep in mind I’m a full-time working mother, with a husband who works full-time, and also with a one-year old son, so the juggling of this intensive therapy will not be easy, if not near impossible. But if you’re reading this blog, you’re likely a parent, so you know as well as I that we do anything for our children, even if we’re not sure how.
So if you’re interested in understanding what ABA therapy looks like for my three year-old son who has been diagnosed as having mild or high-functioning autism, then please continue to read. Just remember that this is one example and that it may look very different for another child. The spectrum is pretty broad.
Come learn with us!
~ Mommy Catharsis
Some resources I found helpful as a starting point: