Saturday, October 10, 2009

ABA Therapy

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is based on the idea that by influencing a response associated with a behavior may
cause that behavior to be shaped and controlled. ABA is a mixture of psychological and educational techniques that
are utilized based upon the needs of each individual child. Applied Behavior Analysis is the use of behavioral methods
to measure behavior, teach functional skills, and evaluate progress.

I have read a couple of books on autism and most of the books recommended ABA Therapy as one of the most effective methods in helping ASD kids. Basically, ABA Therapy is a method used to correct the inappropriate behaviour of children with ASD. During the therapy sessions, reinforcers are used to motivate the children and reward them if they follow instructions.

Not everybody is for ABA Therapy. Those who refute this method say that the programme is too structured, kind of forced and not letting the kids develop naturally. Well, those who are for ABA Therapy feel that it is essential to have a structured programme in treating ASD kids, or else they will not comply to any instructions and their inappropriate behaviour will escalate.

Well, I am for ABA Therapy. I feel that a structured programme is important because we are, like it or not, living in a structured society. You have to conform to survive and that is my objective. I want to help Rayyan to acquire skills for his own survival.

So I surfed the net and was disappointed to find out that a diagnosis is required before therapists can work on the children. Rayyan is not diagnosed yet, thanks to the 'wonderful' support given by the government sector.

Another disappointment sets in when I realised the exorbitant fees that the therapists charge! Junior therapists set their rate at $70+ to $100 for each session (2 hours) and senior therapists at more than $200 for each session! It actually makes me wonder what an expensive 'illness' autism is. What about those low-income families? The children must be deprived of proper therapy and intervention...again, thanks to the 'wonderful' support given by the government sector.

Another thing is that it is so difficult to get therapists. Most of their schedules are packed to the max. What does this imply? There are more kids with ASD or more parents are coming forward to get proper intervention for their children? I really hope it's the latter.

Anyway, I am glad that my sis has relevant contacts and in the end, we managed to get Rayyan a therapist. She will work with Rayyan twice a week, Wednesday and Friday, 3-5pm. For the rest of the days when he doesn't have therapy, we (myself and hubby) have to work with him so that there is follow-up and he doesn't end up as a 'therapy kid' - one who follows instructions only during therapy. So Rayyan's first ABA Therapy appt was at 9th October 2009 (Friday), 3-5pm.