Does it make sense to mix ABA with ST and OT, instead of just doing ABA?
My 21 month old son was just diagnosed as being on the spectrum last week. He had already been scheduled to receive speech therapy, occupational therapy, and special instruction due to his language delays and sensory issues. Now that he has an autism diagnosis I'm being told he should get 4 hours of ABA a day; 2 at a center and 2 at home, and that will replace all the other therapies. I still don't even fully believe… read more
I think that a mixture of all of them is good because often ASD children need help in multiple areas. ABA is very important because often behaviors get in the way of learning so it is beneficial. Most good ABA therapists incorporate other therapies at the same time, however OT is not generally one of them so that is something I would do separately. Your child is young so anything you can get early and often will help out and benefit your child for years to come.
Because ASD is a spectrum disorder, each individual with the disorder will be different.
In terms of a treatment plan, it should be individualized to your child's needs. So, to answer your original question of mixing ABA with ST and OT versus just doing ABA - it depends on your child. My son has done all three.
I personally would try to get as much ABA as possible. One of the goals of ABA is to reduce the behaviours that impede learning (lack of eye contact, inability to attend, repetitive behaviours, etc, etc). Reducing these behaviours makes it easier to teach new skills such as speech, communication, fine motor skills, etc.
I would do a month of mixed services first and based on the response / feedback, then decide which route to go. We tried all at once and decide to go more ABA and I did speech myself (get some Hanen books) as it wasn't that hard at this age.
I can only give you my own experience and hope it will help in your decision because as they say no matter what anyone(therapist specialist doctors) you and only you know your child best and don't be afraid to ask for more info or even question a recommendation and keep asking even if it takes you 20 times to get it!!!
My daughter is 4 and regressed in speech close to 2 years. There was a point I thought she would never be able to speak fully. We have had OT & ST services for almost 2 years and ABA for almost a year. My daughter is now speaking 4-5 word sentences and keeps PROGESSING and blowing everyone away!! I can not contribute her phenomenal strides to just one form of therapy. I have just recently had a "reeval" of her needs and it was suggested a combination of services be collaborated. Collaboration and or open communication is always good however, I refused as her ABA team are not technically licensed professionals (tier structure) and with the fact her ABA funding comes from another entity along side of the fact my opinion is that one therapy can not supplement another form of therapy ST OT & ABA are all completely separate in regards to treatment therapy research analysis and functionality!! Aba usually addresses behavior and ST addresses the actual functions or ones ability to speak. OT completely different all functions of the senses. It will feel overwhelming to get a better understanding of what all these therapies are and how they will help but it will all come together. When I started out and did not know much about anything my rule of thumb is more is better then less! More services, more hours, more therapist, more interaction more RESULTS!! One more thing I wanted to note is that you said it is in home and on site services. Do you feel your son is capable of doing this? The only reason I ask is because my daughter was tragic at going to appointments with the exception of her OT & ST days (SHE LOVED GOING TO THEM). Anything else was not happening. Our ABA is conducted in home and soon (hopefully) within the school but depending on the model of ABA you will be utilizing all in home may be a better fit based on those factors. WISHING YOU ALL THE BEST HUGS AND NEVER FORGET TO KEEP SMILING, EXHALE EVERY NOW AND THEN! THE MOST IMPORTANT YOUR REASON!!! KEEP FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT YOUR DOING A GREAT JOB!!!