therapy is my favorite therapy so far because it can be used for a wide variety
of behaviors and skills. Behavioral
Therapy is an autism teaching strategy to correct a child's
behavior (rather it's throwing a tantrum, getting eye
contact or teaching social skills) and includes these techniques:
mass and expanded trials.
(understanding of language)
- breakdown of tasks into
- systematic use of
reinforcement (food, praise or toy)
- verbally simple using clear
and straightforward language
Expressive language (spoken
use of language)
Action on object command
("Put the toy on the chair.")
teaching with most-to-least prompting.
positional, physical, gestural, verbal, and visual.
with focus and student being able to sit still.
ABA therapy is sometimes
also called “discreet trial training” or
the Lovaas Method. Pioneered by Dr. O. Ivaar Lovaas, professor
emeritus at the University of California at Los Angeles, it is
an early intervention program for children as young as 2 or 3
years old. ABA therapy refers to a wide variety of techniques
that use rewards to develop new skills or reduce unwanted
behaviors, like aggression or self-injury. Skills, such as
learning to make eye contact, are developed one at a time. ABA
is a highly structured, adult-led program (the adult directs the
activity while the child follows along) intended to prepare a
child to enter kindergarten by age 5 or 6. It involves intensive
one-on-one instruction between the child and a therapist or
parent. The therapy takes place in the home or school for as
many as 20 to 40 hours per week.
ABA is backed by the strongest scientific support of any
autism treatment, mostly based on Lovaas’s original 1987 study
in which he cited a 47 percent recovery rate. However, no other
study has replicated Lovaas’s results. ABA is recognized for
its effectiveness in helping children learn language and
cognitive skills, but critics charge that the rigid structure
does not build social skills and that children tend to become
more robotic in their responses and less spontaneous in adapting
to real-world situations.
Pivotal Response Training or PRT is an approach based on the
ABA method but is considered to be more naturalistic, meaning
that instruction takes place in a relaxed environment and the
teaching is child-centered, or guided by the child’s
interests, motivations and favorite activities. Researchers
believe that “pivotal behaviors” affect a range of responses
in children with autism. Because these behaviors influence a
diverse area of functions, positive changes can have a ripple
effect on other behaviors. In PRT therapy, instructions and
rewards are more varied than with traditional ABA. PRT is
offered through clinics and school programs.
Floortime was developed by Drs. Stanley Greenspan and Serena
Wieder. It is an alternative behavorial approach focused on
helping children build fundamental skills needed for
communication and relationships. It is primarily a home-based
technique that enlists professional helpers to work alongside
parents and their children. The adults get down on the floor
with the child and follow the child’s natural interests.
Some critics say there is not enough scientific research
supporting the effectiveness of DIR Floortime and that children
with more severe autism may not be well-served by such a
child-centered program. However, the Floortime Foundation claims
that in a review of 200 children diagnosed with autistic
spectrum disorders who were treated intensively with DIR
Floortime for up to six years, more than 50 percent have
become warm, engaged and loving.
Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication
Handicapped Children (TEACCH) is an approach developed in 1964 at the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The classroom-based
program evolved from the theory that children with autism have
strong visual skills and respond well to visual cues and
symbols. Instead of using rewards for behavior modification,
TEACCH emphasizes picture systems to develop organizational
skills and help children better understand what is expected of
them. TEACCH is based on brain research that suggests people
with autism have more difficulty switching their attention from
one task to another. The approach focuses on helping children
transition more smoothly from one activity to the next.
Therapy Site Map