ASAT Responds to Fort Worth Star-Telegram's 'Applied Behavior Analysis Is Autism Treatment of Choice"
Friday, December 10, 2010
Hats off to Melody McDonald for her article entitled, "Applied behavior analysis is autism treatment of choice, experts say" (November 27, 2010). Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is used successfully with many groups of people (not just persons with autism). However, particular ABA-based treatments, including early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) as discussed in Ms. McDonald's report, also offer real hope for the development of critical skills and independence for children with autism.
In recent years, several well-controlled studies strongly suggest that high-quality EIBI begun in the early preschool years and with sufficient intensity (usually at least 20 hours per week for one or two years) can dramatically improve cognitive functioning, daily living skills, and school placement for some children on the autism spectrum. Recent "state of the science" reviews of autism treatment bear this fact out (e.g., http://www.nationalautismcenter.org/affiliates/reports.php).
Of course, such improvements can translate into substantial savings in the cost of educational, vocational and residential services across children's school years and adulthood. Perhaps more importantly, effective, science-based interventions, such as those grounded in ABA, give children with autism increased opportunities to enjoy participation in their communities and make meaningful contributions that enrich us all. Individuals with autism and their families deserve nothing less.
Daniel W. Mruzek, Ph.D.
Board Member, Association for Science in Autism Treatment