If you’re concerned that your child has difficulty communicating with others, learning new skills, or has frequent and disruptive temper tantrums or displays aggressive behavior, ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis), may be helpful. ABA-based therapies are evidence-based and are considered best practices as they have been shown in controlled studies to be effective in improving language and communication skills, attention, social interactions, and academic performance.
ABA is widely used in schools and clinics for children with autism spectrum disorder, and may include a number of different techniques. Examples of ABA include Discrete Trial Training (DTT), Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI), Pivotal Response Training (PRT), and Verbal Behavior Intervention (VBI). Most ABA treatments are highly structured with the goal to bring about and reinforce meaningful behavior change. The child’s progress is tracked and measured in each intervention.
Which ABA Therapy?
Determining the most effective ABA therapy depends on the age of the child and his/her unique needs. A trained ABA therapist provides positive strategies for changing the child’s responses and behaviors, rewarding and reinforcing desirable behaviors and decreasing undesirable ones. For example, in Discrete Trial Training (DTT), a skill such as identifying different colors is broken down into several steps. The child receives positive reinforcement (such as praise or a token reward) for each correct answer, and gradually builds up to the next level of learning.
ABA therapy is continually evaluated for its effectiveness. If the child shows a lack of progress, other strategies are used. For children with autism, research supports intensive one-on-one ABA interventions, with 25 – 40 hours recommended per week with a trained therapist. Ideally a parent or caregiver can be taught ABA principles to reinforce the child’s positive behaviors at home. This level of intensive treatment, which may be recommended for two or more years, is sometimes provided in schools with ABA-based classes. ABA is often covered at some level by schools, private insurance, or Medicaid.
What does the CDC say about Autism?
CDC works 24/7 to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S. Click the boxes below to learn what the CDC says about ASD.
Autism Diagnosis CDC
Diagnosing ASD can be difficult since there is no medical test, like a blood test, to diagnose the disorders. Doctors look at the child’s behavior and development to make a diagnosis.
ASD can sometimes be detected at 18 months or younger. By age 2, a diagnosis by an experienced professional can be considered very reliable. However, many children do not receive a final diagnosis until much older. This delay means that children with ASD might not get the early help they need.
ASD Treatment CDC
There is currently no cure for ASD. However, research shows that early intervention treatment services can improve a child’s development. Early intervention services help children from birth to 3 years old (36 months) learn important skills. Services can include therapy to help the child talk, walk, and interact with others. Therefore, it is important to talk to your child’s doctor as soon as possible if you think your child has ASD or other developmental problem.
Even if your child has not been diagnosed with an ASD, he or she may be eligible for early intervention treatment services. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)external icon says that children under the age of 3 years (36 months) who are at risk of having developmental delays may be eligible for services. These services are provided through an early intervention system in your state. Through this system, you can ask for an evaluation.
In addition, treatment for particular symptoms, such as speech therapy for language delays, often does not need to wait for a formal ASD diagnosis.
Causes and Risk Factors CDC
We do not know all of the causes of ASD. However, we have learned that there are likely many causes for multiple types of ASD. There may be many different factors that make a child more likely to have an ASD, including environmental, biologic and genetic factors.
- Most scientists agree that genes are one of the risk factors that can make a person more likely to develop ASD.
- Children who have a sibling with ASD are at a higher risk of also having ASD.
- Individuals with certain genetic or chromosomal conditions, such as fragile X syndrome or tuberous sclerosis, can have a greater chance of having ASD.
- When taken during pregnancy, the prescription drugs valproic acid and thalidomide have been linked with a higher risk of ASD.
- There is some evidence that the critical period for developing ASD occurs before, during, and immediately after birth.
- Children born to older parents are at greater risk for having ASD.
ASD continues to be an important public health concern. Like the many families living with ASD, CDC wants to find out what causes the disorder. Understanding the factors that make a person more likely to develop ASD will help us learn more about the causes. We are currently working on one of the largest U.S. studies to date, called Study to Explore Early Development (SEED). SEED is looking at many possible risk factors for ASD, including genetic, environmental, pregnancy, and behavioral factors.
Who is Affected? CDC
ASD occurs in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, but is about 4 times more common among boys than among girls.
For over a decade, CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network has been estimating the number of children with ASD in the United States. We have learned a lot about how many U. S. children have ASD. It will be important to use the same methods to track how the number of children with ASD is changing over time in order to learn more about the disorder.
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