FEAT of WA bases it’s service interventions on evidenced based therapies, specifically Applied Behavioral Analysis.
Why Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?
Typically developing children learn without intervention—that is, the “typical” environment they are born into provides the right conditions for them to learn imitation skills, language skills, play skills, and social skills. Children with autism learn considerably less from their environments. That is, the normal experiences that teach typically developing children so much, very often do not effectively teach children with autism. It often takes a very structured environment to facilitate learning, one where conditions are optimized for acquiring the same skills that typical children learn “naturally.”
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) helps provide children with an optimal environment for learning. ABA refers to the use of principles and procedures derived from the discipline of behavior analysis to help people. ABA can refer to many different procedures and has been used to help many different kinds of people including typically developing children, typically develop adults, and children and adults with many different kinds of disabilities.
Practitioners of ABA are called behavior analysts and there have been more than 550 published research studies showing that the principles and procedures of ABA effectively help persons with autism.
For Autism Spectrum Disorders, Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) is a particular arrangement of ABA services used with children with autism. EIBI refers to a heavily researched configuration of ABA services that have been shown to produce excellent improvements in important child factors like IQ, language, imitation skills, social skills, self-help
skills, as well as other important developmental areas.
While there is still much more research to be done, there are several informative trends that have emerged from the line of research on EIBI. Those trends indicate that:
1. Age matters. The earlier a child on the autism spectrum begins EIBI, the better their chance of enjoying its biggest benefits.
2. Intensity matters. It appears that between 25 and 40 hours per week of EIBI services are needed for most children on the autism spectrum to enjoy its biggest benefits.
3. Type of intervention matters. Eclectic (or “blended”) intervention may not confer the same amount of positive benefit to children on the autism spectrum as pure EIBI does.
For young children, much of the EIBI they receive occurs in their home as the natural learning environment, and gradually moves to more educational and community settings as social and communication skills develop.
Finding a Professional to Develop and Supervise an ABA Program for Your Child
Expert consultation is essential to successful ABA and EIBI programs. Finding qualified professionals can prove challenging for
families. To help with this challenge, as part of our Resource Guide FEAT of Washington has complied a list of consultants in our immediate area and from various parts of the Pacific Northwest who provide ABA consultative services to children on the autism spectrum. This list of ABA providers was complied as a service to FEAT of Washington members seeking such expertise for their in-home ABA and EIBI programs.
Prior to hiring any consultant to direct your child’s ABA program, you should thoroughly review the Guidelines for Consumers of Applied Behavior Analysis Services for Persons with autism as written by the autism Special Interest Group of the Association for Behavior Analysis. These guidelines will provide you with useful guidance and information about how to identify a professional with the appropriate clinical training and supervised experience needed to develop and supervise your child’s ABA program effectively. With permission from the Association of Behavior Analysis Autism Special Interest Group, please click here to download their recommendations.
Other Organizations and Resources:
Association or Science in Autism Treatment – ASAT’s mission is to share accurate, scientifically sound information about autism and treatments for autism because we believe individuals with autism and their families deserve nothing less.
Autism Watch – Your science guide to autism.
Autism Speaks – Dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention and treatments for autism.