Sunday, July 01, 2007
Clinic Notes: An ABA Army to Combat Autism
A friend of mine has just returned from Iraq. I was asking him about how the war was going and he told me that the press is not giving enough credit to our military forces. They are well-trained professionals, doing an excellent job, under extremely difficult conditions. This got me thinking about my "war" with autism. Everyday I am asked to travel here and there--sometimes to foreign countries--to set up ABA programs for children with autism. If I can't go then I'm asked to recommend someone. Professional, well-qualified ABA therapists are in short supply. Parents around the country, and the world, cannot find ABA services, and if they do fined someone they are either not qualified or too expensive. I'm retiring from my university appointment, staying on to teach an ABA course and direct ABA students in internships, but most of my time now will be devoted to my practice. What we need is some kind of national program to train ABA therapists--an army of ABA therapist to go out and fight the autism war. Of course we will also need OT's, SLP's, and pediatric neurologists in the army too. If we don't do this we will loose the autism war and there will be a large fraction of a generation incapacitated by autism. Autism research needs to be better supported too, but until we find some answers the ABA army will have to fight the battle.