Applied in 160 children diagnosed with ASD. At present

Applied Behaviour
Analysis (ABA) is a science that includes concepts and research methods that involves observing and analyzing the technology of applying basic
principles to governing natural laws of behavior (Greene, 2006
cited in Keenan 2006). It is a more recently acknowledged science within the
last 60 years with psychologist Fuller reporting the very first study on it in
1949. (Cooper et al, 2007). Since it has been established, ABA is often misinterpreted
by academic journals and the media (Cheisa, 200). It is often labelled wrongly
as a ‘therapy’ and more specifically a ‘therapy for Autistic Spectrum Disorder
(ASD).’ This begs the question of whether or not the label really matters. This
essay will outline why it is important to clarify that ABA is an applied science
and not a ‘therapy.’

 

It is important to
understand what exactly Autism is before looking at ways to manage the
condition. The National Autistic Society (2005) stated that ‘Autism’ or ‘Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)’ is
a descriptive label for a developmental disability which often manifests in a
child before the age three. The condition affects verbal and nonverbal
communication and social interaction. Other characteristics that Autism or ASD
may include involves persistence in repetitive activities and stereotyped
movements. Furthermore, a child with ASD will be resistance to environmental change
or change in daily routines, and will respond unusually to sensory experiences.
According to the World Health Organisation (2017), there is now an estimated 1
in 160 children diagnosed with ASD. At present in the UK, the figure is 1 in
100. Globally, our awareness and acceptance of ASD is growing steadily. There
is an increase in families with autistic children reporting signs and symptoms to
professional earlier and the diagnostic criteria is expanding. Due to these,
studies state the prevalence of ASD is increasing globally and will continue to
do so. At present, there is no known cure. Subsequently, a range of behavioural
approaches and strategies are necessary to enable, support and promote a
fulfilling life. DeMyer, Hingtgen, and Jackson (1981) agree that;

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“the overwhelming evidence suggests that the treatment
of choice for maximal benefit to autistic children is a systematic, intensive, behavioural/educational
approach” (p.388)