Alternatives to ABA Therapy

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Alternatives to ABA Therapy

The gold standard for autism treatment is ABA therapy, which assists autistic children in developing the skills necessary to be successful in life. However, this may not be the only option available to those affected by autism and their families who wish to improve their quality of life.

Some critics of ABA therapy, including some autism rights activists, believe it to be ineffective and even harmful. They worry that ABA therapists lack an intimate understanding of an autistic person’s brain, leading to negative outcomes.

Others, however, believe ABA has helped their children blossom into healthy adults. Many parents report that their child can now communicate with them effectively, go shopping without breaking down, and use the restroom independently.

ABA is an intensive, one-on-one intervention that requires an average of 25 hours weekly of individualized, supervised training. During these sessions, a therapist uses behavior analytic principles to encourage positive behaviors and discourage negative ones.

Therapists also assist their client in learning how to manage their emotions. This can be especially helpful for dealing with the symptoms of anxiety and depression associated with autism.

Floortime is a relationship-based therapy in which parents and therapists get down on the floor to play with and interact with the child at their level. It may be used in combination with other ABA therapies, but it also has benefits on its own.

Other alternatives to ABA include Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), which is a behavioral intervention best suited for 12-48 month olds. It involves naturalistic play and joint activities between the therapist and child which may help improve language, cognitive, and social skills.

Precision Teaching is an alternative to ABA that seeks to increase the speed and precision of motor or academic skills. This therapy draws upon standard ABA techniques like discrete trial teaching and natural environment teaching, but focuses more on specific skills rather than generalizing them.

ACT is a popular form of talk therapy based on the same behavior-analytic principles as ABA. It’s often prescribed for clients with severe autism, ADHD or other mental health concerns who are having difficulty managing these issues.

Some autism rights and neurodiversity activists oppose ABA on the grounds that it aims to make autistic people appear “indistinguishable” from their peers, an approach they believe is not appropriate. Furthermore, the treatment suppresses autistic people’s emotional expression as well as protests.

Additionally, ABA therapy may cause emotional distress by making it more difficult for individuals to process their feelings and reactions to circumstances. Furthermore, the cost and time-consuming nature of implementing this type of therapy is prohibitive.

Alternatives to ABA that may be more suitable for some autistic individuals include ESDM, ACT and SCERTS(r). While not as successful as ABA, these approaches remain valuable options for those seeking an alternative therapy or wanting a comprehensive approach to treating autism symptoms.

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