Autism and Behavioral Blog
Autism awareness has dramatically increased over the past few decades. This rise in autism awareness and subsequently, research, has increased the availability of evidence-based treatment for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). However, treatment is limited for adults with ASD (Gerhardt & Lainer, 2011; Milley & Machalicek, 2012). The lack of services for adults contributes to some of the challenges they face such as unemployment, reliance on caregivers, and limited social relationships (Howlin, Goode, Hutton, & Rutter, 2004). These challenges can significantly reduce the quality of life adults with ASD experience.
Social deficits and impairments are a common feature of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), (Dogan, King, Fischetti, Lake, Mathews, and Warzak, 2017; and Thompson, 2015). With these deficits acquisition of social skills can be a prolonged process. It can also cause worry for families and caretakers that their loved one may not be able to develop personal relationships in the future. Some examples of social difficulty are initiating interactions, responding to initiation, maintaining eye contact, sharing common hobbies and enjoyment, reading nonverbal cues, taking perspective, understanding and using speech prosody and non-literal language (White, Keonig, and Scahill, 2006). This can seem like a daunting list, but there are empirically validated interventions that have yielded positive results in increasing social skills (Peters and Thompson, 2015; Dogan et. al, 2017).
I think it's safe to say that every parent wants what is best for their child especially when it comes to obtaining necessary treatment for a special needs child. Children of all ages can benefit greatly from the structured learning environment that day treatment provides.
When a child with autism or any other special needs has acquired, to some degree, a certain set of skills in the areas of socialization and play, language, attending, group academic skills and maintains appropriate behaviors, this is a good time to start thinking about shadowing.
Do you like to reward yourself? I know I do. A hot, foamy latte sounds good right now, but first, I have to tell you about ABA. Perhaps I can enjoy one afterward because it would be very reinforcing to me.