AVA-therapy for autists: where to start, reviews
What is our world for autistic children? Scientists believe that they see only blurry faces, flickering pictures in which it is difficult to distinguish between certain objects, and hear annoying and rattling sounds. That is why they hide and squint, cover their ears with their hands, that is, they do everything to avoid this nightmare. How to give a child our beautiful world? Let's try to answer this question.
What is this pathology? By autism, we understand a person’s alienation from everything around him. And this is a big problem, the solution of which lies in the use of behavioral correction of such children. Performing such a task will give the child happiness, allowing, in spite of impairments in development, to take whatever part they can in society.
And here AVA-therapy for autists comes to the rescue. It is a behavioral applied analysis. The technique of ABA-therapy was developed by a professor from the USA I. Lovaas.How does she work? What techniques of this technique can be used to treat sick children? Consider answering these questions.
What is the essence of the method?
ABA therapy is an enhanced learning program based on the principles of behaviorism. This method, which was first widely practiced in America, is currently popular in Russia.
The main essence of ABA-therapy lies in solving the problem, allowing social and everyday skills to be inculcated in children with various forms of autism in the application of rewards and consequences. When a child develops a reaction to a stimulus, it implants those types of behavior that exist in society. Judging by the reviews, AVA-therapy, carried out by a knowledgeable specialist, allows you to "put out" the negative reactions of children that impede their development.
Today, behavioral therapy used in the treatment of patients with autism, is considered one of the best methods for the correction of pathology. It is built on the idea that any human actions entail certain consequences. And if the child likes this behavior, he will repeat it again and again.Otherwise, it will be impossible to achieve from him the desired.
What does the behavioral technique give?
ABA therapy is widely used for patients of any age. However, the earlier the treatment was started, the better the final result will be.
The effectiveness of the ABA-therapy method is confirmed by clinical trials. According to the data obtained by researchers, the method developed by an American professor can provide significant assistance to patients with various forms of autism, ranging from mild to severe.
ABA therapy is used as the basis for most programs that aim to treat autism in children. Conducted over 30 years of research confirmed the high value of these applied behavioral methods. In particular, it has been proven that learning with ABA therapy improves the communication skills of the child, his adaptive behavior, and also the ability to learn. All this together allows us to achieve the necessary socially determined behavior of the patient. The manifestation of negative behavioral abnormalities at the same time begins to decrease significantly.
The researchers also obtained irrefutable evidence that the earlier the child begins to undergo AVA-therapy courses (the preschool age is considered the most preferable), the more significant the results will be.
There is an opinion of experts about the existing shortcomings of the ABA method. In particular, he does not consider the transfer of skills in one place to another environment. Thus, the child does not apply the need to take off outer clothing after entering the house in a kindergarten or school.
In addition, some psychologists believe that with the development of a specific skill of the sick person ceases to develop as a whole. However, if AVA-therapy is not used at all, then the child will not learn the necessary behavior at home and will not be able to master even the most elementary actions. All this can lead to its degradation.
How it works?
AVA-therapy for autists implies a breakdown into separate small blocks of all skills that are difficult for ill children. These are contact and speech, the ability to look into the eyes and listen, a creative game, etc.Each of these actions is memorized with the child separately. Further, all simple links are connected in one chain. Judging by the reviews of professionals, this allows you to get any complex action.
Classes with a specialist
AVA-therapy can bring a positive effect if an autistic child is trained by a professional. After mastering basic knowledge (in the case of a severe form of pathology), children move to complex skills. Among them - creativity, socialization and communication.
The American technique applies not only the development of primitive behavioral forms in the system developed by it. In this therapy there is a place for drawing, sport, dancing and games. And it is not only cards and tokens, passed by children sitting at the table. It connects the work of a competent professional who is able to understand which way to guide the child, and what problems prevent him from mastering the program at this stage.
Thus, an individual approach is selected by a specialist for each ward. It can be learning in the form of separate blocks, which is similar to training with cards, or gaining knowledge in a natural environment.In the latter case, a competent accompaniment leads to the fact that the child learns to play with other children, make sandwiches, clean up after himself toys, etc.
When learning actions by a specialist, certain tasks are given. If the child cannot cope with them independently, then he will receive a hint. For the correct answers waiting for him a reward. Invalid statements or actions by a specialist are ignored.
Interaction with parents
The ABA-technique can achieve the greatest effect only in the case when coordinated interaction between the specialist and the close people of the patient is realized.
Each of them must understand the challenges facing adults, especially at the very beginning, where the child is taught basic skills of communication, self-service, imitation, and speech. Parents are always given the right to choose a technique that corrects the behavior of their children. But at the same time, mothers and fathers should be aware of the essence of the task and do everything necessary to solve it.
“Language is understanding”
How to start ABA therapy for autists? At the start, specialists are offered a program “Language - Understanding”.In order to understand how the learning process, we consider one of the exercises of this stage.
So, a specialist treatment center gives the child a task or an incentive. For example, he asks the patient to raise his hand and, as a clue, he raises it himself. After this, the child will receive a reward for the correct answer. After a certain number of joint attempts, the specialist eliminates the “hint” link from this chain. He asks the child to raise his hand and waits until he does it on his own. Upon receiving the correct answer, the student receives a reward. He is given something tasty, praised or allowed to play. In that case, when the correct answer was never received, the ABA therapist begins again using a hint. Then he again proposes to act independently.
After the child gives the correct answer in 90% of cases, a new stimulus is introduced for him. This may be, for example, a nod of his head. Work out such a task is similar to the previous one.
Where to start ABA therapy, we have already figured out. And what to do next? After the child has mastered the task of performing the movement “nodding his head”, as a rule, the exercises begin to alternate in random order.This incentive, as well as the one that offers to raise his hand up, is considered to be fully developed, when 100% of the child correctly answers 90% of the questions. And only after that the third stimulus is introduced, the alternation of the trained skills takes place, the fourth is introduced, etc.
After the child has mastered a large number of skills, including those that will be necessary for him in everyday life, the specialist begins to work with the student on the synthesis. There is a generalization of skills. She aims to conduct exercises in those places that have not previously been used for training. It could be a corridor, a street, etc.
After that, proceed to the stage of alternation of people giving the task. Thus, dad and mom, grandmothers, grandfathers, etc. can be involved in ABA therapy at home.
Out into the world
At some point in training, the child begins not only to master the incentives offered to him. He has the ability to independently understand and perform new actions. For example, it will be enough for him to show once or twice how to close the door. After that, the program can be considered mastered.Judging by the feedback from parents, in most cases, an autistic child subsequently begins to independently process information received from the outside world.
Variety of topics
AVA-therapy in its arsenal has more than one hundred most diverse programs. Some of them include treatment of mental retardation, mastering verbal and non-verbal imitation, improving fine and general motor skills, understanding the speaker’s speech, naming actions and objects, and also classifying them (for example, putting cards with animals to one side and - to another).
In addition, the method for the correction of pathology in children offers programs such as "show how you ....". In this case, the child should turn the steering wheel, brush her hair, put on a hat, etc. An important step is the training of pronouns. Autistic children should properly use "I'm sitting" - "you are sitting." They need to be trained to answer the questions "what", "who", "when", "where", etc.
Which of these programs is more effective? It is impossible to answer this question. The fact is that each child has its own personal characteristics.That is why the approach to it should be individual.
The use of technology ABA-therapy
On the one hand, this technique is somewhat reminiscent of training. The child is offered to perform certain actions, and with the right decisions of the assigned tasks he is encouraged with sweets. However, this happens only in the initial stages of training and in the presence of deep autism. In the future, material incentives are replaced by social ones. This may be verbal praise, affectionate touch, permission to go to a favorite activity, etc.
When using the ABA-therapy technique, it becomes important that the child adheres to a certain daily routine. Living according to a given pattern greatly facilitates the development of a variety of skills, forming a socially acceptable behavior.
So, after waking up, the child is offered a “route of the day”. These are pictures placed on the wall that tell him to go to the toilet, brush his teeth, wash, get dressed, have breakfast, sit at the table, wash the dishes, etc.
Also, to start classes, a special signal must be defined. At the first stage, it can be a card, a visual clock or a timer.In the future, the child will be enough to pronounce the words "engage" or "play." Long sentences will not be accepted by autists. Indeed, a large amount of information is not assimilated by them. It is quite enough to have a very short phrase that needs to be pronounced in a directive tone. At the same time it is important to look the child in the eye. After all, fixing the gaze is one of those initial skills that need to be learned by the patient. That is why this ability will need to constantly consolidate, bringing it to automatism.
At the initial stages, AVA-therapy is recommended to use from 40 to 60 hours per week. Only in this case it will be possible to get an effective result. After all, the child in order to master only one skill, for example, to get used to the pot, will take from 2 to 6 months. In this case, first of all, it will be necessary to clarify the main cause of wet pants. It is possible that it has a physiological character. So, when not receiving nerve impulses, the child does not even feel that he is wet. In this case, a therapeutic intervention is required. Only after this should be used educational techniques.It is necessary to sit the child on the pot with methodical consistency, giving him something positive when his results are positive.
The method of behavioral analysis can be successfully combined with speech therapy, a method of sensory integration, and so on. ABA therapy will be a systematic approach to the development and further support of socially acceptable behavior.