Saturday, March 13, 2010

Clinic Notes: Medication and ABA

The popular press has carried a number of stories recently about the large number of children in our society being over-medicated with psychoactive drugs like Prozac, Ritalin, or Risperdal. These stories quote the possible multiple side effects of these drugs and the harm that could be done to these innocent children. Uncaring parents that don't have time for their kids and careless doctors prescribing, "dope" is the image that is portrayed. Often the first thing parents tell me when they bring their children to my clinic is, "We don't want medications." So where are the uncaring parents and careless doctors? Well, actually they are hard to find. A child on medication is usually a sign of good parenting. I tell parents we will try to do everything we can behaviorally and then see if medications are necessary. And often, about half the time medications are necessary. About 80-90 percent of the children I see each week are on the Autism Spectrum and about half are on medication. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) seems o be facilitated by medication in many cases.