Victorian Forum a huge success

Organised by ABIA (autism behavioural intervention association), a one-day forum, “ABA Today”, held on April 28th at the Hawthorne Campus of the University of Melbourne, attracted a capacity audience, including attendees from interstate and overseas.

ISADD’s Jura Tender was among the presenters, talking on “Intervention with Infants”, a topic that follows on from the presentation on diagnosing infants that she had previously given to the WA Autism Diagnosticians’ Forum.

The success of the ABIA forum indicates a growing awareness of ABA as the leading (indeed only) evidence-based treatment for Autism, and an increasing preparedness on the part of ABA providers to come together to share and disseminate knowledge and information.

ABAI deserves the highest praise, not only for its initiative in oganising this forum, but also for the high quality of its organization.

And for the curious: herewith the abstract from Jura’s paper –

Literature emphasises the importance of behavioural intervention commencing early, but most of the data still refers to children 30 to 48 months at commencement (Lovaas ,1987, Sallows, 2006). M-Chat brings the age of an ‘at –risk’ diagnosis down to 18 months and the omission of language from DSM-5 will make more babies eligible for a diagnosis. A recent article (Elsabbagh et al 2012) indicates detection of ASD in babies 4-10 months old.

Diagnosticians need to adjust, and ABA providers need to modify both teaching targets and techniques without losing behavioural objectives. The questions then are “what are the benefits of starting that early?” and “how different will the programs be?”  This paper looks for the answers using the example of a case history (N=1) of a 13 months old boy, tracking his program over 12 months of therapy. In summary all major targets were achieved in the first 115 hours of therapy (approximately 3 months). In the next 9 months targets achieved successfully relieved him of the diagnosis of ASD. (These results echo our earlier experience of children starting at 22 months, but not sufficient data was kept). The paper will include more detailed information and video footage of teaching style.

Discussion will include the importance of modifying the traditional ABA approach to make it more ‘baby friendly’ and easier for parents to implement, while still keeping the structure of Discrete trials. It also will look at the rationale for choosing early targets, and why early intervention can be so effective.

There may be a subgroup of children who respond more dramatically to EBI. (Ortega and Garcia, 2011). Even if only a percentage of children can have similar results, the cost benefit to the community and the family is considerable.

autism services and support, australia
autism services and support, australia

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