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    Old 02-02-2007, 11:04 AM   #1
    datgrlstef
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    Anybody NOT doing ABA?

    I'm really curious if anybody is NOT doing ABA, isn't that interested in it, feels it's not the best option, can't afford it, etc... PLEASE share your thoughts with me. IT feels like some people are cramming this stuff down my throat. I know that ABA works well for a lot of kids- especially kids with behavioral issues, which my son really does have. However, I don't expect miracles- with this, or with any other treatment out there.

    I would like to know who else feels they were pressured by a doctor, therapist or anybody else to go this route, when they had doubts? Or if they held off, and then did it (and what made you do it after holding off?). I can't be the only one who feels this way!

     
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    Old 02-02-2007, 12:26 PM   #2
    meechieny
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    Re: Anybody NOT doing ABA?

    We have never done "ABA" with our son who will be 7 at the end of the month. We had a speech therapist when he was 2 years old, she was convinced my son had autism before and after he was diagnosed (our 1st dx was auditory processing delay and sensory integration dysfunction.) One day she tried to hold him down and force him to what she wanted and I told her "no, I don't feel comfortable with you touching him like that".... she did it again the following week and we let her go.
    I think a lot of the things we did and do maybe are like ABA????? I'm not sure. What we have done has worked. He is amazing!! Teachers that saw him at 3yrs can't believe he is the same kid. I'm happy with our choice not to.

     
    Old 02-02-2007, 04:03 PM   #3
    sross24
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    Re: Anybody NOT doing ABA?

    When my son was diagnosed last April (18 months old at the time), the Dr. said he needed 30 hours of ABA, 2 hours of speech, 1 hour of OT, 1 hour of PT, and 1 hour of a developmental specialist (each week). We were really interested in doing Floortime therapy, because we had heard so much about it. The Dr. said "Floortime does not work." Well we tried both ABA and Floortime, and we loved the floortime and hated the ABA. My son also hated the ABA. We stuck with it for a few months because we thought he would eventually do better with it, but he did not. He would cry through the entire 2.5 hour session. It was awful! We eventually stopped the ABA altogether and increased his Floortime hours.

    However, I do have to say that I am willing to try it again. I know of many people who love ABA, and many kids that ABA really works for. It may be that my son does not respond well to ABA, or that he was too young to understand at that time, or it may be that he just did not fit well with that particular therapist. We are trying a different provider this time, so maybe there will be a difference.

    Good luck with whatever you decide, and remember not to let others pressure you into it. It is up to us to decide what is best for our kids and best for our family. 40 hours of therapy a week does not work for our family. We have four kids, and could not handle that intense of a schedule. Plus, my son really needed to nap in the middle of the day. 40 hours sounds easy at first, but when you consider that the therapist mostly just work 9-5 Monday through Friday, it is hard to fit those 40 hours in. I hope this helps you a little.

    -Steph

     
    Old 02-02-2007, 05:03 PM   #4
    Laenini
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    Re: Anybody NOT doing ABA?

    I have not done ABA with either child. With my 18 year old ABA wasn't even on my radar. With my 9 year old I was aware of ABA but I had several issues with it. First we had no coverage for it so it wasn't a possibility even if I wanted it. But I really didn't want it. Having already been through 12 years of parenting an autistic child before my younger son was diagnosed, and having spent my entire life with a brother who has asperger's I honestly find some of the concepts of ABA to be highly offensive to me. In no way am I out to "cure" my children as I do not believe a cure exists at this time and I love and appreciate my boys for who they are. I don't see ABA as a cure, I instead see it to be very intensive training or rote skills, and to my values I believe it comes at a cost. The cost is that it robs them of huge amounts of time each day to just be themselves. Its forcing a child to perform by dominating them for hours and hours at a time. I can't imagine being the recipient of ABA therapy, to me it would be torture! And I can't imagine subjecting my children to something I know I would hate for myself. What they did both have was speech and OT and therapeutic preschool for a few hours each day.

    I know there are many families that swear by ABA and I don't criticize them by any means. But for me and my family I felt it was not the type of care I wanted to give to my boys. I feel like its a choice each family has to weigh out for themselves. The only thing I really have an issue with is how some parent's who chose not to do ABA are made to feel guilty about their choice. To the best of my knowledge (and I may be wrong!), we do not have long term controlled studies that show that any advantages seemed to have been gained by ABA treated children are retained into their teens or beyond. In other words, there are reasons to be concerned that the ABA effects "wear off" as the child ages and after time you can't tell the difference between an ABA kid and a kid who got other appropriate early childhood interventions for their autism. Think of it this way, many of us probably learned a skill in childhood that we no longer remember. I know I had violin lessons, but now I wouldn't be able to play a note if I tried. ABA seems to have a similar effect where initially there are gains made, but they fade and are eventually gone, just like my violin lessons. If anyone is aware of other data please fill me in as I really haven't researched this issue for a few years and I could easily be wrong.
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    Old 02-02-2007, 06:14 PM   #5
    MOM23ANGELS
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    Re: Anybody NOT doing ABA?

    personally, i do believe ABA is not for everyone. as a matter of fact, i almost cancelled my son's sessions after not seeing a difference in him the first couple of months. (a lot of crying) once i realized it was his therapy team that wasn't connecting with him and not necessarily the therapy not working we saw results immediately. my son's ABA team realized that a mix of ABA and floortime worked best for him and that's what we worked with. i also believe ABA worked for us because my son is on the mild end of the spectrum and wasn't learning things in a robotic way but once things were broken down for him (which is how ABA works) a light bulb went off in him and it was wonderful to watch. for me, the more time he spent learning "approriate" play the better off he was. i made sure his siblings/cousins/friends were all involved in sessions, otherwise, he would have very little time for interaction with peers. we were lucky enough to have all therapies paid for by the school district. we would have never been able to pay for this out of pocket.

    btw, my son aged out of ABA (as far as the school district was concerned) last august. he has never regressed.

    i know i may be bashed for this next comment but given the chance i would definately rid my son of this disorder. i never met a person who said "i wish my child had autism".

     
    Old 02-02-2007, 07:11 PM   #6
    Laenini
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    Re: Anybody NOT doing ABA?

    I have never wished for my son's to be autistic. I was actually terrified after having the first one to even think about getting pregnant again. I even went to genetic counselling before attempting my final pregnancy because I was so "used up" back in those days taking care of Nick that I didn't feel like I had it in me to raise another autistic child. I was assured that I had nothing to worry about, that lighting had struck already and was unlikely to strike again. Once I did become pregnant I was a worried wreck the whole pregnancy. When I found out the infant was going to be a boy via an ultrasound midway through the pregnancy my fears increased even more! And sure enough, my second baby boy ended up being autistic, even more severely affected than my first boy.

    Although I never wanted them to be autistic and I would never wish the challenges they face on anyone, I am accepting of the fact that they are autistic. I believe that their autism is an integral part of who they are as people. If a genuine sure fire "cure" for autism was ever discovered I would certainly seek that out for them. In the meantime I love and value them for who they are, and my only real goal for them is that they live happy lives. I think that its important that they do not see themselves as "broken" and thus in need of a "cure". Instead the message I try to impart is that its OK for them to be the people they are and that not everyone has to be the same. We focus on their strengths, try to support the areas they need some help with, and do our best to live normal healthy lives with them. The original ABA therapy model involved something like 12 hours a day of intense 1:1 therapy in a small, bland, sensory depriving room. To me it sounded like a jail sentence and it wasn't what I'd want any of my children to have to suffer through. Maybe the model has changed over the years, in fact I hope it has. And for parents who choose this for themselves and their children I really do support them 100%. I just don't feel like its the mandatory therapy some people make it out to be. Its not the right choice for everyone, and it wasn't the right choice for my family. And my children have thrived without it.
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    Old 02-03-2007, 05:06 AM   #7
    KathleenW
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    Re: Anybody NOT doing ABA?

    ABA saved my son. I am so thankful we did the program. I completely agree with the posters who said maybe they did not have the right therapist. I truly felt we had the world's best speech therapist (it was like my son was hypnotized. He could not take his eyes off her). The best ABA tutors, and the best ABA consultant.

    ABA is all about drills and yes it can get boring. Guess what? For the last year and a half when my son has been in Kindergarten and first grade. The programs they teach are Saxon phonics for reading, and Saxon math. A lot of teachers think Saxon is boring, because it is just drilling the same small steps over and over. Guess who has been making straight A's since he was in school? My son.

    So people should realize that even if your child crys and does not enjoy ABA (which if you have the right therapists who make it fun they will like at least some parts of it). You are giving your child the chance to have a better life. If your child can't communicate or function in the real world how is that helping them?

     
    Old 02-03-2007, 06:59 AM   #8
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    Re: Anybody NOT doing ABA?

    We all want to help our children, cure or no cure. I don't think it really matters what we call it. I have not tried ABA. I can't afford it and I wouldn't do it if I could. It doesn't seem to be something that fits my sons personality or our lifestyles. Jace receives speech and OT. We are using pic symbols and sign, and we are encouraging him to be verbal. He seems to be making improvements, slowly but surely. My thoughts are...don't do anything that you're not comfortable with. That is in your childs best interest. Good Luck.

     
    Old 02-04-2007, 03:35 AM   #9
    Laenini
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    Re: Anybody NOT doing ABA?

    "So people should realize that even if your child crys and does not enjoy ABA (which if you have the right therapists who make it fun they will like at least some parts of it). You are giving your child the chance to have a better life. If your child can't communicate or function in the real world how is that helping them?"
    My understanding is that we really don't know this for sure. Although some children who receive ABA show significant gains initially, not all children respond in the same way. Children treated with other types of treatment programs show significant gains too, and there are no methodologically sound studies that show that ABA treated children outperform children that receive those other types of treatment in either the short or long term!

    My youngest son Zachary who is 9 years old now was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3. On his initial evaluation, he scored in the severe range on the autism rating scale, and his overall IQ was less than 70 (with all sub-tests less than 70 too) placing him in the retarded range for his cognitive functioning. He was completely non-verbal at that age and communicated mostly by placing my hand on things he wanted, if he communicated at all. We enrolled him in early childhood special education classes 4 days per week through our local school district and it was about a 3 hour per day program. We also enrolled him in a special day treatment program run by an organization that is known in my geographic area for treating autism. That program ran 5 days per week and also was about 3 hours per day. It involved speech and occupational therapy, and then social skills therapy in a preschool like group setting with other ASD kids. Zach continued in that program through Kindergarten then as of 1st grade all of his programming became part of his IEP and was provided by the school district. Zachary has never had ABA therapy, yet he has thrived! He has always been fully mainstreamed (he does have the support of a para and special education staff when needed) and is in a normal 3rd grade classroom. He is verbal and can communicate quite well and is very sweet and well behaved. I can take him anywhere! In fact I had him out carpet shopping with me today and at 2 different stores the salesperson commented on how well behaved Zach was! His IQ score last time we tested it (and that was a few years ago) had gained almost 40 points over the initial testing he had done as a toddler and went from retarded to above average! I'm so proud of how well Zach has done, and let me point out again that he has NEVER had even 1 minute of ABA therapy!

    ABA therapy isn't for everyone. For some families it can be very intrusive. Some models call for a high degree of parent involvement and if there are jobs that need to be worked or siblings that need care that level of involvement is too much to expect for some families. ABA therapy can be frightfully expensive and is often not covered by insurance. Some state medical assistance programs cover it, others do not. I don't know if this has changed, but back when Zach was 3 and we were making his treatment decisions, ABA therapy was not covered in my state, but it was in a neighboring state, and there were actually families that deliberately moved to the neighbor state just to get ABA therapy for their child. Never should the needs of the rest of the family suffer in order to provide 1 member with something like ABA in my opinion. Not when there are other alternatives.

    For some families, ABA is the best choice for them. For other families their needs may be better met in other ways. My biggest criticism regarding ABA is how some parents are lead to believe that its their only option and that they are actually harming their child if they don't sacrifice everything possible to provide it. Nothing can be farther from the truth in my mind.
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    Old 02-04-2007, 04:43 AM   #10
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    Re: Anybody NOT doing ABA?

    We have not tried or considered ABA for a simple reason. It's years of waiting to get publicly funded ABA, and 50 000 - 80 000 per year to pay for it privately, here. So, it never even seemed like an option for us. At York University in Toronto, they're undergoing a very successful floortime study, that's free. It was featured in last year's Autism article in Time magazine. We qualified for the program. But, I ended up turning it down, because Liam got a last minute spot in the greatest special needs preschool in our area. We've been on the waiting list for over a year, and I couldn't turn down the spot. We would never have another opportunity. They also follow a floortime philosophy. We visited last week, and he starts on the 12th.

    Suzy

     
    Old 02-04-2007, 05:25 AM   #11
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    Re: Anybody NOT doing ABA?

    [QUOTE=Laenini;

    My understanding is that we really don't know this for sure. Although some children who receive ABA show significant gains initially, not all children respond in the same way. Children treated with other types of treatment programs show significant gains too, and there are no methodologically sound studies that show that ABA treated children outperform children that receive those other types of treatment in either the short or long term!



    It sounds like your child has made AMAZING GAINS. I guess it is very hard for me to understand when people say they would never do ABA because my child who was diagnosed with very mild autism (His CARS score was 26 and if you score a 25 on the CARS it means you do not have autism) but HUGE DELAYS with speech and cognitive is now one of the top first graders in behavior and academics. From the very second we started ABA the gains were immediate and very quick. My son's biggest problem was with language so our ABA programs consisted of about 85% language programs. We also did speech therapy 3 times a week.

    ABA breaks things down into small steps so your child can learn. That is just what my son needed to excel. I just think it is interesting that now my son is in a regular school with no assistance and the programs that his school is using to teach reading and math are all about drilling small steps over and over. At the beginning of first grade my son was at a third grade reading level (no he was not one of those miracle hyperlexic kids who taught themselves to read at 2) and a second grade math level. School is just so easy for him. ABA got him in the habit of working since he was 2 so he never argues about homework or class work. He also never gets bored. He loves seeing 100% on all his homework, class work and tests. We have always made a big deal of every thing he has accomplished so it makes him very happy when he sees that he does so much better than the other children in his class.

    I have never told one friend or one teacher that my son has had about my son's diagnosis when he was 2. I never wanted anyone to think my child was different and now he is not any different (except smarter) than most children his age. He has never had trouble with same age peer interaction. He is only in first grade, so I hope this will always be the case.

     
    Old 02-04-2007, 06:31 AM   #12
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    Re: Anybody NOT doing ABA?

    KATHLEENW,

    our children sounds so similar. my son also scored 26 on the CARS scale. his biggest challenge was cognitive and functional language. we also focused on language with his ABA therapy and since behavior wasn't an issue for him, our programs ran fairly smooth. i credit his team for teaching him the ability to sit, focus and complete a task. (big expectation in school, as we all know) he is in kindergarten with a part-time shadow and his teacher tells me he will not need her next year. he taught himself to read a couple of years ago and LOVES math. as a matter of fact, he helps his older brother with his multiplication tables.

    there is no doubt in my mind that he would have thrived without the therapy but therapy makes a difference. whatever therapy choice that may be.

     
    Old 02-04-2007, 05:07 PM   #13
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    Re: Anybody NOT doing ABA?

    Wow!!!!!!!! Your son is doing amazing. Our son's do seem similar since my child has no behavior problems, however, you feel your child would have thrived without the ABA and I feel my son would have stagnated.

    Before my son was diagnosed he was going down hill fast. He was staring into space, and living in his own world. He also only had single words and could not put any words together except for a couple easy phrases like all gone and oh no. Even though my son is exceptional (according to his report card that came home Monday!!!) now, at 2 and a half his speech was at 18 months as well as cognitive. He also had some skills that were at a 9 month level. I did floor time with him at home along with speech therapy for 6 months, but he was not really improving. We started the ABA program February 5, and by the end of April when he was 2 years and 11 month they retested his speech and language and he tested at 3 years 1 month for speech and cognitive.

    That is why I think ABA is such a miracle. It just made everything click for my son and the smart little boy underneath all the problems was able to come shining through. Even though I shouldn't, I get upset when people say they would never do ABA. I can never predict the future, but as of today my little guy is indistinguishable from his peers and ABA with the combination of speech therapy and dietary intevention is what changed him.

     
    Old 02-04-2007, 06:14 PM   #14
    MOM23ANGELS
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    Re: Anybody NOT doing ABA?

    ofcourse, i will never know how far my baby would have progressed without his intervention. but seeing the struggles some of his peers (without intervention) have had to deal with, i am so grateful for the ABA. two of his therapists have become very close family friends to us.

    i thought about dietary intervention but have heard so many mixed feelings about it. i must admit, i am also intimidated by it. although, it probably wouldn't be a big transition for my son as he only eats a handful of foods.

     
    Old 02-05-2007, 10:29 AM   #15
    KathleenW
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    Re: Anybody NOT doing ABA?

    If your son is able to focus on his school work and is not acting hyper or having behavior problems, it seems like there would be no reason to switch his diet.

    Before we took milk, soy and most wheat products out of my son's diet he was having severe melt downs (over nothing) and staring into space. He could not focus on any task that you gave him. That is why I removed all milk first, then wheat and lastly soy. You are very lucky your child has accomplished what he has with no dietary intervention. The diet does not bother me a bit, but at least twice a month my son says he wishes he was not allergic to so many things.

     
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