Intro to Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA
by Shannon Aronin on March 9th, 2017

​So after about two years of jumping through diagnostic, administrative, and insurance related hoops, my son has been granted 15 hours of Applied Behavior Analysis  (ABA) treatment weekly. ABA is THE gold standard for autism treatment but there are many who feel it’s tactics are controversial at best. We decided to go into it with an open mind and if we thought it was bad for our child we would stop. That does not mean I expected him to like it. He doesn’t totally hate it which is as much as I can ask for really.

So what’s it like? There are a lot of people involved. The scheduler. The supervisor. The supervisor’s supervisor. And the boots on the ground doing the work day in and day out, the behavior interventionists. Four days each week he spends about 4 hours with a therapist. They play a huge number of board games to focus on turn taking and social interaction. They practice dressing skills. They are about to start work on helping him tolerate a sensory issue that’s troubling him.

I can’t lie, it’s hard. The benefits take time and sometimes it does seem like it gets worse before it gets better. But we have already observed some positive changes in the last month as well. It’s exhausting keeping my house clean enough for company and it’s exhausting having people in the house so much. My son really feels burned out and his access to screens has become so limited because he’s just that busy. It’s a big change.

They seem good at what they do. I don’t know what to expect, but they appear to have a plan to target problem areas like social skills, gross motor delay, sensory tolerance, listening and following instructions. It feels a lot like Karate Kid. The requests are small, but repetitive. Wax on, wax off. But they’re playing board games or other games. Most of the activities are fun. He hates the self reliance ones, but table manners, making his bed, getting showered and dressed, these are things he needs help with that we have been lost on how to get through to him. I’m thrilled someone else is taking a shot at it! So welcome to ABA, raise a glass to results!


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