Very often, a diagnosis of Autism or PDD-NOS and related diagnosis is confusing and frightening to a parent. There is a lot of confusion and misinformation about the disorder and few suggestions are given for dealing with the behavior of a child with autism. In addition, there are many services for assisting the child in the classroom, but what happens when the child comes home? Spectrum Consulting, Inc. can help with intervention for individuals on the autism spectrum and related disabilities, that targets social interaction and dynamic thinking skills. Spectrum Consulting, Inc. will use RDI as its first mode to help Parents establish a give and take relationship with their child. RDI is a parent training model in which parents are taught how to re-establish the relationship and be a Guide to their child.
Spectrum Consulting, Inc. offers Relationship-Based Therapy (RDI), Behavioral Therapy, On-Line E-Course to help Guide Parents and Caregivers better understand and support their child with Autism. Rapid Prompting Method (RPM), Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy (PROMPT), and Physical Therapy.
Limitations Apparent in Applied Behavior Analysis Research
November 9, 2013 by Janet Meydam Editor’s Note: We at Autism Daily Newscast were not surprised at the strong reaction to the recent BBC4 documentary
‘Autism: Challenging Behaviour’ that aired earlier this week. We had
been reviewing various conversations on ABA in Facebook groups and other
chats. We assigned one of our journalists to report on the current
state of ABA in the USA. This is the first in a series of three which
will cover the following topics.
1. A brief research review that shows the research on ABA therapy does involve flawed research designs
2. Staffing issues and inconsistent regulation of ABA providers in the United States and efforts to improve consistency.
3. Difficulties in insurance coverage in the US for ABA therapy even under the new Affordable Care Act regulations
Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA therapy, is one of the predominant
treatment methods for young children with autism in the United States.
Children receive intensive, in-home therapy 25-40 hours per week to
apply behavioral techniques in teaching a variety of skills, including
communication, activities of daily living, and play skills. Intensive
therapy may last for three years, and follow up therapy can last to age 9
or 10. While this form of treatment is popular with parents and
endorsed by the United States Surgeon General, the research that
supports ABA therapy has limitations.
Most ABA programs for children with autism are based on the research
of Dr. Ivar Lovaas of the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA).
His 1987 study examined the effects of intensive behavioral therapy on
the IQ levels of 19 children with autism, as compared to 40 control
group children. The results of this study, which showed a 30 point
increase in IQ at the conclusion of the study, is cited as landmark
research in ABA therapy and is the basis of many ABA programs in the
United States. However, this study utilized a small sample size and no
provisions were made for follow up to determine the long term effects of
therapy. In addition, the selection criteria and lack of randomization
of this study did not control for possible bias.
A follow up study was
conducted by McEachin, et. al. in 1993 on the same children involved in
the 1987 study. This study did conclude that gains in IQ were
maintained, but the study did not correlate results with changes in
social or interpersonal functioning over the 6 year period between the
Another study conducted by Smith, Groen and Wynne (2000) compared a
24.5 hour per week intensive one on one therapy program with a less
intensive parent directed program. Children diagnosed with pervasive
developmental disorder (PDD) were included in this study. ABA therapy
was provided to the study group for three years, with a gradual
reduction in the intensity of services. Parent directed therapy was
provided to the control group for 10 hours per week for 3 to 9 months,
in addition to school based special education services. The results of
this study showed significantly higher scores for the ABA group in IQ,
visual-spatial skills, language, school placement, and academics.
However, even with the gains achieved in IQ, the mean IQ score of the
ABA group still fell within the developmentally disabled range. In
addition, no significant change in behavior or socialization for the ABA
group was reported. Duration of intervention was not equal in this
A Swedish study (Fernell, et. al. 2011) examined a larger sample size
of 208 children with clinical diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders.
The children were between the ages of 20 and 54 months and were studied
over a 2 year period. Children were randomly assigned to either an
intensive ABA therapy group or a non-intensive group involving targeted
interventions based on ABA principles. Composite Controls for bias were
appropriate in this research design. Scores on the Vineland Adaptive
Behavior Scales increased for both groups, with no significant
difference between the groups. The researchers concluded that their
results did not support intensive ABA therapy over less intensive
Numerous other studies have been conducted to determine the
effectiveness of ABA therapy for children with autism. Most of these
studies involve small sample sizes, with wide variation in research