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Essay on “Applied Behavior Analysis Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders”

Abstract.

This paper focuses on how Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is used to treat and manage autism spectrum disorders. Thus, the paper appraises ABA, discussing its important components and how it works. The paper also succinctly discusses about the autism spectrum disorders. Finally, the paper concludes with an analysis of how ABA is used to treat autism spectrum disorders.

Applied Behavior Analysis Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Studies have shown that one of the most effective modes of intervention in ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA is also termed behavioral treatment or behavioral intervention. According to the research done by Wynn & Groen (2010), ABA produces comprehensive and long-term improvements in the most essential skill areas in children who have ASD, notwithstanding their age (p 809). Laving (2010) stated that the main objective of ABA as applied to ASD is to maximize the successes, while concurrently, reducing the failures (p763). ABA techniques make use of scientific principles, based on current behavioral learning theorems, to alter conducts in ASD patients by fostering socially-constructive repertoires and minimizing the problematical ones. ABA is a structure-based intervention that places much emphasis on the use of precise high-intensity teaching techniques to enhance language skills (such as imitation, cooperation and attention), and ensure that the affected children do obtain a collection of constructive manners (Wynn & Groen, 2010).

ASD, also termed as PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder), is an intense long-term developmental disability which normally manifests itself during the early childhood period. It incorporates a cluster of developmental disorders together with their associated symptoms that have varying levels of intensity.ASD is neuro-behavioral in nature, thus, its effects are severe. Usually, ASD is diagnosed in the child before he or she is three years old. It cause the effects outlined below. Restricted repetitive patterns of behavior characterized by obsession with the sensory features of physical entities. There are impairments in social affinity, with the most common feature being inability to establish and maintain proper peer relationships. There is delayed development of cognitive functions, thus cognitive impairment occurs. Also, there is impairment in communication, both verbal and non-verbal, as evidenced by absent or delayed development of spoken language (Pearson, 2011).

It has been postulated that ASD is caused by a neuro-developmental and neuro-operational dysfunction in the brain, though its correlation with the associated behavioral manifestations are still unclear. Also, epidemiological studies have shown a strong correlation between ASD and psychiatric disorders that are genetic in origin, with the hereditary factor in ASD being greater than 90%. It affects boys more than girls with a gender disparity ratio of 4:1, though no scientific model based on genetic studies has been able to explain this discrepancy. The ASD spectrum encompasses autistic disorder, Rett’s disorder, Asperger’s disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified).

The common comorbidities associated with ASD are intellectual disabilities, lack of functional speech, behavioral disorders (such as obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity syndrome, tics and self-injurious behaviors), anxiety, depression and Bipolar disorder. Screening for ASD is done at two levels; Level I screening with involves developmental surveillance, and Level II screening which involves…


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