History has been made. The first World Autism Awareness Day has come and gone. CNN, to their credit, featured many more faces of autism, albeit briefly. CNN, to its discredit, returned to its fixation with "atypical" autistic person Amanda Baggs and her neurodiversity, "WE don't want a cure", ideology. But there is no denying that people around the world had their awareness of autism raised to one extent or another. Visits to autism blogs like this one doubled or more on April 2, 2008. OK, we have more autism awareness, now what?
For this father of a 12 year old boy with Autistic Disorder with profound developmental delays the fight will continue to help improve his situation in life and hopefully that of some other autistic children and adults here in New Brunswick and possibly elswewhere in Canada by fighting for government funded ABA intervention for autistic children wherever they live in Canada, continuing to fight for Teacher Aides and Resource Teachers trained at the University of New Brunswick Autism Intervention Training program and fighting for improvement in adult autistic residential care and treatment.
If you are an autistic adult, or parent or family member of an autistic child or severely autistic adult you probably already know what you are fighting for, you probably know what has to be done to help yourself or the autistic loved one in your life.
If you are the parent of a newly diagnosed autistic child though you will want to consult your local professionals with autism expertise. If you do you will most likely be told that there are a number of autism interventions but that there is one above all that has been studied and stood the test of time and been proven effective in helping autistic children - Applied Behavior Analysis:
“ABA is the application of a scientifically-based approach to teaching and behaviour management. Its greatest goal is to teach children the skills that will allow them to be as self-supporting as anyone else in society, to be able to make choices for their own lives.
Dr. Mickey Keenan, University of Ulster, School of Psychology
ABA has more research support than any other treatment or therapy for this population. It incorporates proven strategies such as shaping, prompting, and positive reinforcement. Numerous task forces around the country have endorsed ABA as the preferred therapy for children with autism. There are hundreds of objective research studies that have shown ABA to be an effective method for teaching language, social, and independence skills, and for reducing problem behaviors. There are few, if any, research studies examining sensory integration, floor time, music therapy, and special diets.
Alan Harchik, Ph.D., BCBA, the May Institute
The effectiveness of ABA-based intervention in ASDs has been well documented through 5 decades of research by using single-subject methodology21,25,27,28 and in controlled studies of comprehensive early intensive behavioral intervention programs in university and community settings.29–40 Children who receive early intensive behavioral treatment have been shown to make substantial, sustained gains in IQ, language, academic performance, and adaptive behavior as well as some measures of social behavior, and their outcomes have been significantly better than those of children in control groups.31–40
American Academy of Pediatrics, Management of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders, October 29, 2007