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Sunday, February 21, 2016

My Little Cricket’s Delay: To ABA or Not to ABA

I have been going back and forth about getting ABA therapy for my Little Cricket. There are so many things that I just don’t agree with. And there are many reports and opinions for and against ABA therapy.

The for ABA camp insists that ABA therapy is the only approved, proven treatment for Autism. That 40 hours of intense one on one ABA therapy is the best chance you can give your child to live their best life. Parents state that their children benefit greatly from ABA therapy. It also happens to be one of the only treatments that insurance will cover.

The against ABA camp insists that ABA therapy takes away the child’s right to choice. That it can damage a child’s delicate self-esteem. That 40 hours of therapy is way too much for a young child. Adult autistic’s have labeled ABA as abuse and they have stated that they felt constantly picked apart. ABA also finds what the child loves the most and holds it ransom, usually it is food. That trying to ‘fix’ a child and make them externally fit into the world around them will not cause a child to be their best self.

In my opinion there are benefits and negatives to both camps and it really depends on two things. The first is to make sure you find the right therapist. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE knows that when you say ‘ABA’ it can mean a very very very wide variety of quality in therapists and what they do.

My Little Cricket’s future is so unknown and I am terrified of making the wrong decisions. What I am hoping is to create a custom gentle play based therapy group to help my son grow his skills and help work on the things he needs help with.

I decided that I want to add some ABA therapy to my sons schedule. Perhaps 6-10 hours, not the 40 hours recommended. So I called Ms. A, the ABA therapist that came highly recommended from the UCLA JASPER director. I had talked to her weeks ago but because she didn’t accept insurance I decided to try and find someone who did. What I am finding is that you get what you pay for. After talking to several ABA companies and meeting a few therapists I am left disappointed with the level of experience and the quality. Unfortunately when I called Ms. A she is now completely booked. Disappointed I asked to be put on her wait list and I hope soon she will have a few hours to start us in ABA. In the mean time I have to look at a backup plan. I decided to try two of the smaller ABA agencies that were known for their floor time naturalistic approach. One of the companies flat out refused to talk to me unless at the minimum I would commit to at least 25 hours of ABA a week. I thanked them and hung up. The other agency agreed to starting with less hours and see how it goes. I am meeting them in two weeks and hope that this might be the right direction to go in.

All I can do is go with my gut. I have never flown by the seat of my pants as much as I am now.

I am hoping to God I am making the best decision.

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