Have you ever thought that your child may need a little extra support? Do you ever think that he or she may be behind same age peers in terms of language? Do you avoid public places because your child engages in challenging behavior? Is your child’s “picky” eating becoming problematic for your entire family?
Many parents worry about their child’s development, spending evenings on the internet, reading blogs, reviewing symptoms on medical websites, and the like. Having access to so much information in one place can be both helpful and harmful. The internet can make parents feel empowered and helpless.
A former special educator who has a younger brother with autism reports:
“As a teacher, I understood the need for interventions and services, but as a parent a whole new world of opportunity is presented. The challenge is always second guessing what is right and was is abnormal in your child. Early intervention has brought my four-year-old much further than I thought. These services may have curbed the need for future interventions that may have been needed if it wasn’t for the keen eye of those professionals who helped support and educate my son. As a parent, you don’t necessarily want to hear that your child has special needs, but it’s something you need to hear. You need to accept this fact for your child because it is what is best for them and not you. My family is forever grateful to the early interventionists involved in my child’s education and hope to see that continued support is given to families with children of all needs, so they may have the same successes as our family has had thus far with early intervention”.
If you haven’t contacted the pediatrician about your concerns yet, don’t fret. The window of opportunity does not close. Skill acquisition and behavior reduction can be taught at any age. It is recommended that intervention begin early because the sooner a child can begin working on acquiring new skills or reducing frequency of challenging behaviors, the more time (in days, months, or years) they have to work toward improvement.
The results of a survey distributed to 552 parents of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in 2004 via the Autism Society of America (ASA) revealed that Applied Behavior Analytic (ABA) services ranked as the fourth most commonly accessed treatment out of 111 treatments surveyed (Green, Pituch, Itchon, Choi, O’Reilly, & Sigafoos, 2006). In addition ABA has been endorsed by the Surgeon General for, “reducing inappropriate behavior and increasing communication, learning and appropriate social behavior.” More and more medical insurance companies are covering ABA services due to its classification as a medical necessity for children with ASD.
Bottom line is, if you suspect any delay, deficit or difference in your child’s development, chat with your family friends, speak with the pediatrician, and other child development professionals, and ask for advice. Seek out services that are research proven to be effective. Remember, you are your child’s advocate.
Green, V.A., Pituch, K.A., Itchon, J., Choi, A., O’Reilly, M., & Sigafoos, J. (2006). Internet survey of treatments used by parents of children with autism. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 27. Retrieved from http://www.cis.edu.rs/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Internet-survey-of-treatments-used-by-parents-of-children-with-autism.pdf
How Can Verbal Beginnings Help?
At Verbal Beginnings, Board Certified Behavior Analysts assess a learner’s behavior (or skills) and create treatment plans based on their specific instructional or behavioral needs. Registered Behavior Technicians implement individualized treatment plans with guidance and supervision from a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).
ABA treatment involves positive reinforcement, intensive teaching and instruction delivered in the natural environment. Ongoing data collection and analysis are critical features of ABA programming as progress is constantly monitored and changes to instructional programs are made as frequently as is needed to allow for improvement of behavior. Progress is typically formally reported to parents at least every 6 months; however ongoing family training is a critical component of every child’s program. Qualified provision of ABA service can improve a child’s language, social skills, academic performance, and self-help, leisure/play, among other skills. Challenging behavior reduction is also a common part of ABA programming and treatment focuses on teaching appropriate replacement behaviors and/or reinforcing the absence of challenging behavior. Skills are taught in multiple environments to allow generalization outside of therapy received during instruction and previously acquired skills are frequently reviewed and tracked to ensure global improvement.
By Emily Summers, Licensed Behavior Analyst at Verbal Beginnings