ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — One in 59 kids in the United States have autism … with boys being four times more likely to be diagnosed than girls. There is no one standard treatment, with medication, occupational therapy and nutritional therapy all among the options. These days, some families are turning to an individualized approach, known as applied behavioral analysis. ABA therapy
David Gulacsy and his wife have a busy household … Sara’s the oldest. And then twins Evan and William.
“The twin boys was a big deal because it was like how are we going to handle twins?”, David shared.
As they grew the twins began to do things out of the ordinary … hoarding their toys and throwing food. So, David and his wife took them for an evaluation.
“And immediately when we went there, it was like black and white to them. It was, yep, your kids are both on the spectrum. Your emotions are everywhere. It’s hard. It was very tough,” David continued.
But the Gulacsy’s were committed to finding help for their family. David found a therapist who practiced applied behavior analysis, or ABA. It’s a structured intervention that helps kids learn new behaviors and skills by repetition.
“I think ABA provides a good step-by-step approach to teaching all of those skills that you might find overwhelming at first,” explained Jaslin Goicoechea, Advance Behavior & Learning, Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst.
David says ABA helped with negative behaviors. Forty-minute temper tantrums became two minutes long. And it showed outside of home as well.
“Going to the grocery store, if I said William stop, or Evan stop, they stopped. Whereas before they never would have done that,” said David.
ABA therapy also helps the twins with skills they need for academic success. Structure that helps the Gulacsy’s put all the pieces together.
The amount of weekly therapy varies, but by some accounts, children do best when they have more than 20 hours of ABA weekly. Insurance coverage varies, not only by state, but by insurance company. Parents should look for therapists who are board-certified behavior analysts. In most cases, they will have at least a master’s degree, and the letters BCBA after their names.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath and Keon Broadnax, Field Producers; Roque Correa, Editor and Videographer.
ABA THERAPY FOR AUTISM IS LIFE CHANGING!
BACKGROUND: Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States. It is known that there is not one autism but many subtypes, most influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Because autism is a spectrum disorder, each person with autism has a distinct set of strengths and challenges, and the ways in which people with autism learn, think and problem-solve can range from highly-skilled to severely challenged. Some people with ASD may require significant support in their daily lives, while others may need less support and, in some cases, live entirely independently. Approximately, 31% of children with ASD have an intellectual disability, 25% are in the borderline range, and 44% have IQ scores in the average to above average range. Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls. Most children are still being diagnosed after age 4, but autism can be reliably diagnosed as early as age 2.
SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT: Autism symptoms become evident during early childhood between 12 and 24 months of age. Symptoms may include a marked delay in language or social development. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children undergo screening for ASD at the ages of 18 and 24 months. The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) is a common screening tool used by many pediatric offices. There are no “cures” for autism, but therapies and treatments can help people feel better or alleviate their symptoms. Massages, weighted blankets and clothing, and meditation techniques may help induce relaxing effects. Some treatment approaches involve therapies such as play therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, and behavioral therapy. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a therapy based on the science of learning and behavior. ABA is a flexible treatment and can be adapted to meet the needs of each unique person. It can be provided in many different locations – at home, at school, and in the community. It teaches skills that are useful in everyday life and can involve one-to-one teaching or group instruction.
TWO NEW DRUGS FOR AUTISM: Two drugs that alter the activity of the hormone vasopressin seem to improve social communication in people with autism. Vasopressin is related to oxytocin, a hormone thought to govern social bonding. There’s evidence implicating both too little and too much of the hormone in people with the condition. The two drugs also target vasopressin in opposite ways. One of them, balovaptan, blocks a receptor for vasopressin in the brain and dampens the hormone’s activity. The other is a nasal spray containing vasopressin. Despite their opposing modes of action, both drugs appear to boost social function in autistic people and neither have serious side effects. Eric Hollander, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and a principal investigator on the balovaptan trial, says, “These two studies provide important information that the vasopressin or vasopressin and oxytocin systems are important in social communication. Different agents affecting these systems may ultimately be helpful in terms of new treatments for autism.”
* For More Information, Contact:
Stacy Taylor, M.A., B.C.B.A. / Dir. and Board-Certified Behavior Analyst
firstname.lastname@example.org / (321) 316-4860
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