For those with High-functioning kids, have you found ABA therapy to be helpful? Or not? and why?
My son's teacher and school team were discouraging me from pursuing ABA therapy for my son because he is considered "high-functioning" I was under the impression that ABA can be helpful for all degrees of learning and development.
Hoping to draw some insight from some of you...
YES it is helpful for high functioning kids. In the short 6 months since starting ABA we completed potty training (day, night, #1 & #2) and worked out a great system for discouraging aggressive outbursts (they still happen but with less regularity and I feel more capable of handling them). My son also started ABA at an older than average age, 6. It offers a different way to view the issues and tackle them. You need to find an ABA therapist that gets you and your child and keep your mind open because you will have to relearn how you view and handle certain situations. It hasn't been easy for us but we put in 110% effort and consistency and are now seeing results. We've been doing ABA in office starting at once a week and now we are at once every other month. We tackle one issue at a time and use the office visit to review past issues & plans and then decide on the next issue to tackle, investigate it, come up with a plan and practice the plan. I wish we would have had a diagnosis sooner so that we could have started ABA sooner.
The research has actually shown that kids with HFA are the most likely to benefit from ABA. Unfortunately, it can be hard to get coverage for HFA kids :-(
To those that answered above - my son is verbal, does not harm himself, is potty-trained. His biggest challenges are with impulse control, focus, social intelligence & boundaries, hyperactivity, etc. are these areas you have seen significant advances?
ABA has changed our lives!! Before we had diagnosis I didn't know much about it & was talking around, researching. I was told EVERY child can benefit from ABA even neurotypical children. & it makes sense, it's rewarding/encouraging good behaviors. Not acknowledging the bad behaviors.
When we started at age 4, my son would only tolerate sitting at the table "working" for about 5-10 minutes before having to take a break. He can now easily and happily sit for 45+ minutes and the reinforcers (rewards) he requests are usually the "work" he's mastered in the past - he's become confident in the activities that challenged him in the past. Our therapists made a game out of STOP/GO! to help with his bolting and have taught him to sit with "quiet hands" instead of grabbing. They work on fine & gross motor skills, reading, all types of life skills, taking turns, pretend play, eye contact, etc. Whatever the challenge, they seem to be able to build a program around it. It feels like we have the best private tutors in the world and they are setting our son up to succeed in school and life.
As far as coverage, in my experience (in Illinois, insurance is United Health) ABA is the ONLY therapy that's guaranteed to be covered. Getting it approved was so much easier than OT or ST for us. We've been so thrilled with our ABA experience, we're going to increase our sessions to daily over the summer. So, while I'm sure there are others whose experience isn't as positive as ours, I feel very comfortable in telling you to go for it!
I recommend this book if you want an easy and uplifiting read on how ABA works. Though most of the cases in the book are lower functioning, you get a good idea of the principals of ABA and how it could help virtually any kid....
Overcoming Autism by Lynn Kern Koegle and Clair LeZebnik