Thursday, July 02, 2009

Clinic Notes: Recovering From Autism with ABA

We have been telling parents for years that ABA is the best treatment for autism. But then we quickly add that there is no cure for autism and it is a life long condition. Well, maybe we were wrong. We have had data for some time suggesting that it may be possible to prevent autism in high-risk toddlers by using intensive ABA (See www.aba4autism.com). Now a recent study finds that one in ten children given intense ABA at an early age recover from autism. (See WebMD Health News for details). The results of this study do not surprise me. Many of the kids who started ABA early in my clinic seem to be "normal" by age six or seven. I think the problem now is finding affordable and competent ABA for all of the kids with autism who are out there.

4 comments:

Astrid said...

Of course the fact that a child seems normal after ABA, doesn't mean that they learn socially-appropriate behavior int he same way that NTs do. After all, the method of intensive ABA is teaching appropriate behavior in a highly structured wa which takes into account the fact that autistics will not learn social rules spontaneously. These children can only be legitimately considered recovered, in this area of autistic symptomatology, if they not only show appropriate social behavior, but show that they are able to learn new social rules incidentally like normal kids (so outside of ABA). After all, if therapy causes the kids to recover, it should mean that they can from then on deal with life without therapy, and slide along the increasing social demands of life past age 7 equally smoothly to the NT population. I'm highly skeptical that any study would be able to show this.

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