How should autism be treated?
Watch as licensed psychologist and autism specialist Dr. Ronald Leaf discusses how autism should be treated.
There's been outcome studies that have shown the effectiveness of autism, showing that when children get the right kind of treatment,
they can make outstanding progress. [BRIGHT MUSIC]
There are literally hundreds of treatments available for children, adolescents, and adults with autism.
Unfortunately, not all those treatments are empirically based. Many of them have absolutely no research whatsoever to support their use, their effectiveness,
and most have limited at best. The only treatment really that has the most empirical support is Applied Behavior Analysis, referred to as ABA.
Applied behavior analysis is a treatment that's based upon learning theory. It's really good educational practices
when you receive applied behavior analysis. It's educational in nature in that you teach children
the skills that are necessary. You look at every child. You assess their strengths and their weaknesses. And you look at those deficits, and you teach.
You teach communication skills. You teach social skills. You teach play skills. You're a teacher. But you're an outstanding teacher.
It's not just as simple as teaching. It's becoming what we call an obsessive teacher, breaking skills down into small little parts,
teaching those small little parts until you get mastery of those skills. It's providing motivation, understanding that all learners
need motivation. Children with autism perhaps need a little more motivation because they're not internally motivated oftentimes nor socially motivated.
So you've got to create motivation so that there's incentives to learn. It's practicing.
You just can't do a skill one time. It's multiple times that you have to practice a skill. And this is all parts of applied behavior analysis.
It's all part of the teaching process that we use with children with autism. And as I said, it's the most research-based treatment.
There's been hundreds of studies that have looked at aspects of applied behavior analysis and the treatment of autism. There's been outcomes studies that
have shown the effectiveness of autism, showing that when children get the right kind of treatment, they can make outstanding progress with some children
reaching what we call best outcome, children that no longer present with the characteristics of autism, children that have typical language
and intelligent IQ scores, children that are in general education without supports. This is all possible with the right treatment.
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