What is Autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a spectrum of complex neurobiological disorders with common symptoms that are most often characterized by difficulty communicating and relating socially to others, and an obsessive need to engage in repetitive behaviors or language. Symptoms of ASD show up in infancy and very early childhood and might include avoiding eye contact, delayed speech or not speaking at all, not responding to his or her name, and restricted interests. It’s important to understand that there are a wide variety of symptoms for children who fall somewhere on the spectrum. Symptoms that are easy to spot in one child might be virtually invisible in another. However, every child who lands somewhere on the spectrum struggles with challenges in these three areas:
- Verbal and non-verbal communication
- Relating to and understanding other people and the world around them
- Adapting to change or dealing with unpredictability
What is ABA Therapy?
In a nutshell, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a systematic approach to treating the symptoms of autism while increasing communication and decreasing maladaptive behaviors. The approach starts with the understanding that not being able to communicate is incredibly frustrating for children with autism, and this frustration can cause them to act out in destructive ways.
ABA therapy has been proven to improve a child’s ability to communicate and teach behavior that helps them form vital social relationships. The approach is also an effective way to teach play and self-care skills that support long-term healthy development. Children who receive consistent treatment, especially from a young age, generally show significant improvements in school performance and their ability to act appropriately in a wide variety of social situations.
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