Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Autism, Abby and ABA at the Shape of Behavior

In Facility is changing world for autistic children Lucretia Fernandez of the The Courier of Montgomery County, Texas tells the story ofAbby who, as a three year old was diagnosed with autism. Abby had difficulty sitting at a table to color a picture, participating in preschool or daycare activities. After being diagnosed with autism her parents immediately sought help for Abby and enrolled her at the Shape of Behavior. An individual ABA program was designed for ABA and within two weeks she was sitting at the table. After six months of intervention Abby was able to go to preschool where she has completed her first month.

The Shape of Behavior is a Houston, Texas facility with six locations. It's web site states that it provides individualized data-based treatment for children with autism and other developmental disorders "by shaping small successes to improve the quality of life for all individuals". The facility also conducts conduct research in the area of Applied Behavior Analysis. The Shape of Behavior web site contains information about its staff qualifications, locations, therapy clips, and a concise list of the characteristics of of Behavior Analytic Treatment:

Characteristics of Behavior Analytic Treatment

• Treatment that is individualized
• Treatment that is empirically validated
• Treatment that measure behavior and learning
through direct observation
• Functional analysis of the causes of behavior
• Emphasis on using positive reinforcement
to increase desirable behavior
• Technological procedures that can be replicated
• Achievements are described in scientific terms
or the principles of learning
• Practical significance in the improvement
for the individual child and not just
statistical improvement
• Creating improvements that last over time
and in new places where appropriate

Abby's parents sought help immediately upon learning of their child's diagnosis. The help they obtained, ABA treatment, has been thoroughly studied for decades and shown to provide real and lasting gains for autistic children. Parents of newly diagnosed autistic children would do well to follow a similar path, and take action to help their children learn, develop and live life as fully as possible.

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