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Meet Tyler, Age 3:
Tyler was an adorable 3-year-old who was exhibiting concerning behaviors. He didn’t know how to ask for anything and he was quite aggressive, hitting or throwing objects at anyone who came into his space.
Besides posing a severe safety issue in his classroom, there were other troublesome realities that couldn’t be overlooked.
Tyler’s parents and daycare teachers were disturbed to note that he seemed unable to play with another child at all–even for a short, two-minute span.
Also problematic was the fact that he drank only from a bottle and barely ate any food.
Tyler’s parents reached out to Circle Care Services for help, and with the direction of our BCBA, they decided that an ABA treatment program in daycare would be the best way to go.
What is ABA and how does it work?
Firstly, appreciate that ABA is nothing new! ABA has been helping individuals on the autism spectrum since the 1960s.
Though it’s been around for a while, there are constant improvements being made to the ABA method all the time.
Still, if it’s new to you, read on and Tyler’s story will help you understand why thousands of parents turn to ABA therapy to help their children with autism.
Tyler’s care plan:
Tyler began ABA therapy 5 days a week in his daycare for a total of 33 hours per week.
When Kali, the BCBA, first approached the teacher to discuss the goals for Tyler, she noticed that the teacher was wary of outside support in her classroom and had a limited understanding of autism behaviors and treatment. Picking that up was game-changing! Kali now knew to set aside extra time to educate the daycare staff.
Kali, Tyler’s BCBA explained to the school staff:
- What ABA therapy is all about
- How ABA will help Tyler develop more socially appropriate behaviors.
- How ABA helps the teacher with overall classroom management.
She set aside time to talk with Tyler’s teachers and parents, stressing the importance of asking questions and communicating regularly with each other to achieve the best outcomes.
She taught them how to:
- Recognize Tyler’s triggers
- Read his nonverbal language and cues
- Preempt aggressive behavior by attending to his needs proactively.
Armed with effective tools, consistency, and collaboration, Tyler’s caregivers were able to manage his behavior and build his social skills, setting him on a path of growth.
Tyler reached over 50% of his outlined goals within weeks!
- Tyler can now ask for things using 1 or 2-word phrases.
- Tyler’s aggressive behaviors are significantly reduced.
- Tyler got used to not having his bottle, is eating his breakfast, and is much happier throughout the day.
- Tyler interacts with his peers in the classroom and can now play with another child for 5 minutes at a time. As he continues with ABA these increments will gradually increase
- Tyler’s mom has learned how to prompt him to ask for things which reduces his frustration as much as hers.
Has your child been diagnosed with autism?
When your child has been diagnosed with autism, you may have mixed feelings. On the one hand, it can be a relief to put a name to the atypical behaviors your child is displaying and to know that there are resources and services out there to help your child. On the other hand, you may be concerned about what this means for your family and for your child’s present and future.
A diagnosis can also be a shock to you, and trigger feelings of worry, fear, and denial. Rest assured that all these reactions, as well as anything in between, are completely normal.
When your physician delivers a comprehensive assessment for autism, they will also give you recommendations for different types of services based on your child’s needs. One of these recommendations will likely be for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), an evidence-based therapy that reduces or eliminates problem behaviors and increases appropriate behaviors in children with autism.
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