Friday, April 27, 2007

Clinic Notes: The Two Faces of ABA

In a previous blog I discussed who was qualified to do ABA. With the increase in children with autism, and ABA being recognized as the best therapeutic approach, the number of people holding themselves out to be ABA therapists and preying on an uninformed public is geometrically increasing. Psychologists and Behavior Analysts are big on qualifications. At the same time they say paraprofessionals can do ABA. On my website I tell caregivers that anyone can learn to do ABA and I believe that. But to do ABA independently with someone else's children, without supervision of a Behavior Analyst or Psychologist can be risky.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Clinic Notes: Who is Qualified to Do ABA?

Recently a school system nearby had an ABA consultant come in to give a workshop on ABA for a day. The special education aides were asked to attend as well as the cafeteria ladies. The parents of the children with autism were then told that their children would be given several hours of ABA each week.
ABA is riding a wave of popularity with the onset of the autism epidemic. And many people are offering their services to families and schools. This brings up an important question. Who is qualified to do ABA? Under supervision anyone can do ABA. But without supervision a little bit of ABA knowledge can be harmful. I think that it is very clear that only Board Certified Behavior Analyst or Licensed Psychologists should be doing ABA unsupervised. I have seen many children in my clinic who received ABA from unqualified therapists and did not progress. It is accepted that with autism the earlier the interventions the better. Parents cannot afford to waste a year with an unqualified therapist.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Clinic Notes: Chelation

I've been in practice long enough to remember when children severed brain damage from lead poisoning. Most of the lead poisoning was caused by children eating paint that was peeling off the walls. Now paint does not contain lead and most clinicians have never seen a case of lead poisoning in children. Removing the lead (Chelation) was a popular therapy back the. This week police raided a doctor's office in Pennsylvania who was using Chelation therapy to remove mercury in a child suffering from autism. Chelation therapy for autism is not an approved therapy and is highly controversial. This week police searched a doctor's office whohad used chelation for treating autism in a 5 year old boy who had died. (This is the third death reported.) The family's attorney stated that the physician was ... "giving a treatment that's not an approved treatment for autism. He gave the wrong drug in the wrong dose and he gave it the wrong way."
Of course this statement should not imply that's there is a right drug and a right doss and a right way to do chelation.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Clinic Notes: Preventing Autism in Babies

In a previous blog I cited studies suggesting that intensive ABA can prevent autism in high- risk children. (Preventing Autism Now: A Possible Next Step For Behavior Analysis, Philip W. Drash, Autism Early Intervention Center). Now Geraldine Dawson, a University of Washington Psychologist is running intensive ABA programs for children younger than two. Much of her 25-30 hour per week program focuses on social development in order to facilitate language development. Language development by age five is an important predictor of how high functioning a child with autism will be.