Starting a new therapy, or even understanding the one you’re currently undergoing, can be a challenge. It’s hard to put your trust in something, especially when there have been so many hurdles along the way. And hurdles are something all parents of children with autism know too much about. With all that frustration we can sometimes want to give in. What can, yet another therapy, do for my child? Especially when we don’t really understand it.
ABA therapy can sound complicated at first, but it really boils down to this…
Have you ever been with any child, on a bright sunny day in the park and everyone is relaxed and happy? And you ask the child to go down the slide, and he climbs, wobbles, all the way to the top. Then makes his way down, excitedly and so you praise him. You shower him with smiles, and congratulations? It’s something that we all instinctively do. Now what if we took time to do that over and over in a short space of time?
Not all children absorb praise the first time, especially with autism. They have so many things bombarding them every day that it can be difficult to connect. ABA therapy carves out the time to praise them and help them succeed.
The therapist identifies the triggers, what makes the child happy and what causes meltdowns. Then takes note of good behavior, and lavishes them with praise every time they display these actions. The bad behavior is not met with anger, or abuse, but the good behavior is re-enforced, over and over again.
It seems silly, when we as parents think about it. Isn’t this what we’ve been doing for thousands of years? But an autistic child is so sensitive to his surroundings, that any disappointment and anger can reach them ten-fold. They can shut down, making the simplest of lessons fall on hurt ears. Sometimes it takes a repetitive, loving hand, to guide them down this path again and again, until they learn the behaviors we want, and ultimately they want for the future.