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Updated on October 25, 2010

Let’s talk Autism


Love depends upon the capacity to reach beneath the surface of persons, to feel and touch the seed of life that is hidden there.

Love becomes a power when it is capable of evoking that seed and drawing it forth from its hiding place”

Ira Progoff

The Symbolic and the real

I am an A.B.A. (Applied Behavioral Analysis) tutor with many years of experience and training working down in the trenches with children on the spectrum. I love these children, I love the way their minds work, the way they think. Our job as therapists is to help each student find the “key” to unlock the potential they have, too become the best THEM that they can be. There is nothing so satisfying, than to see the inner light bulb go off for a child. That AH, Ha! Moment, when a specific skill you and the student have been working on clicks for them!

I was talking to a parent today. Her son is a six yrs old child on the spectrum. I asked her what she thought of the intensive ABA Program he started in the summer, It is a significantly separate classroom within a public school setting. This was her answer

” I guess I can sum it all up with this, when I get home I always have to walk up to him and make him look at me and initiate the interaction, it has always been like this, but today was different. As I walked up to my front door he must have heard me coming and jumped in front of the window on the door and put his hands up like he was trying to surprise me. When I opened the door” her eyes were misty as she continued “He threw up his arms said hi Momma and ran and hugged me!” He is six years old,that is the first time he has ever done that!” You could tell how much this had meant to her. That is what makes being an ABA tutor worthwhile.


What is Applied Behavioral Therapy?

In short Applied Behavior analysis Therapy is a scientific approach to understanding behavior And “shaping “that Behavior .It focuses on the principles of how behavior works, and how learning takes place. It looks at each behavior to be taught and quantifies it, breaking it down into its component parts and begins teaching at the first step of a behavior ( a behavior being anything observable whether it is identifying colors to interacting with a peer, trying new foods, or sitting in a chair ) the field of behavior analysis applies many techniques for increasing meaningful and socially functional behaviors and extinguishing or lowering the frequency of maladaptive or interfering behaviors

ABA ( when taught by trained Tutors/teachers) Is an error-less teaching approach which always begins teaching where the child is now, using reinforces(Something that is highly preferred by the child.) to bring the child along to more and more independence with each skill. These lessons (usually called programs or prescriptions) are used throughout the child’s day in classroom instruction including 1-1 cubby work called discrete trials , in group instruction such as circle time, art, or inclusion and in natural settings in and out of school called incidental teaching. ABA is used to develop basic skills like attending( which includes Eye contact, listening, and imitating} as well as more advanced skills like social language, reading, math skills and theory of mind (taking the perspective of others. )

The use of ABA Therapy to assist children with ASD is widely recognized as a highly effective treatment for autism. It has been endorsed, by the U. S. Surgeon General and is becoming widely used in many public school systems.

Where can I learn more about A.B.A. and get services for my child?

I have included a short description and links to some excellent centers.

“The Lovaas Model of Applied Behavior Analysis has undergone rigorous research at UCLA under the direction of Dr. Lovaas, proving its effectiveness in treating children with autism. Treatment follows the procedures described by Dr. Ivar Lovaas,.

“The New England Center for Children provides a full range of educational, residential and treatment programs designed to help children with autism and other developmental disabilities reach their full potential. Our overriding goal is to provide state-of-the-art Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) when teaching children with autism, thereby increasing their abilities to function and communicate successfully with as much independence as possible. Each program has been developed to address varying skills and multiple levels of functioning. “

May Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides educational, rehabilitative, and behavioral health care services to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other developmental disabilities, brain injury, mental illness, and other behavioral health care needs. Since its founding more than 50 years ago, May Institute has evolved into an award-winning national network that serves over 25,000 individuals and their families annually.

My child has been diagnosed with ASD what do I do first?

Having a child in your family newly diagnosed can be overwhelming. Hopefully this article and the links I have provided will be of help. You need to know you are not alone, neither is your child.

What is important right now is to advocate as quickly as possible to get therapy into place. Hopefully the sites above will be of some help. This will be a learning experience for everyone involved in your child's life. Call your local school department and find out how to get your child early intervention (if he/she is under 3). If Your child is three or older most systems have integrated preschool programs. MAKE SURE YOU ASK FOR ALL OPTIONS AVALIBLE TO YOU, and then follow through right away.

I hope this article has been of some help to you. If you have any questions I can help you with feel free to leave me a message and I may be able to find out the answers.


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    • profile image

      mours sshields 5 years ago from Elwood, Indiana

      Thank-you for a great article! We have a 17-year-old son

      with severe autism. When our son was diagnosed at 3, I

      felt like my whole world had crumbled. However, things have changed a lot since then!

      I just wish ABA therapy was easier to get---and pay for! It's finally easier dealing with insurance,

      and it's about time. I've worked with my son for years.

      However, he now has professionals working with him. About

      two years now. I just wish we could have had all this help earlier.

      However, we're very pleased for all the help he's getting

      now! Our therapists are wonderful people! God Bless you.

    • Sybil Marie profile image

      Sybil Marie 6 years ago

      Alfreda, I hear you pain and your loving concern for your grandson.Your daughters first step would be to talk to the school system and have your grandson evaluated. I also suggest connecting with agencies in her area. A great web site

      This agency has helped millions of parents and young people on the spectrum.

      Where do you live Alfreda (in general)? Are you in the U.S.?

      What ever you do never give up! From your note you seem like a strong women.

      Gods Peace,

      Sybil Marie

    • profile image

      Alfreda Pugh 6 years ago

      My Grand Son 16 yrs. old and has a problem staying focus and looking in a person eyes when talking to him. This is some form of Autism.It seems to be hard for him to form his words. He think really hard to talk repeating over the same word over real fast,as if he want to hurry up and get words out so he can finish trying to talk.Please! Help my daughter she really need your help,by helping her Your helping a VERY LOVING CARING AND CONCERN GRANDMOTHER FOR ALL PEOPLE! Thank you and for your care."MAY GOD BLESS YOU FOR THE WORK YOU DO FOR HIS PEOPLE."

    • profile image

      Carol Powers 7 years ago

      I want to become an ABA tutor how do I find jobs and training in Las Vegas NV?