Is ‘Applied Behavior Analysis’ Going to Help?

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Will ‘applied behavior analysis’ (ABA) make a difference?  This week I have been given the blessing of an “ah ha” moment.  My daughter, 6 years old and diagnosed with autism and moderate intellectual disability has been demonstrating some really terrible behaviors.  How, do you ask, is THAT a blessing?   Well because it made me more aware of her and what she is needing. This week, while her cousins are visiting, she has been hitting and kicking when they are not doing what she expected or wanted and oh boy can she be bossy.  It wasn’t the best way to interact socially, right?

I don’t normally see these behaviors because it is she and I and her teenage brother and sister.   Now, have set about, again, trying to secure ABA services.   It makes me wonder, too, about how much of this is going on in school and if it contributes to her NOT liking school, which she frequently tells me as she resists going.  This very behavior will end up socially isolating her!  That is NOT a tenable outcome for her future!

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Good Doctors Worth Their Weight

Our Pediatric Behavior Physician recommended getting ABA in place to help, but it has been a major challenge finding a resource for this service in our town.   We will be seeing her again in April and I’m really looking forward to that conversation.  WHY?  Because often times, I am finding insurance will not pay for having an ABA specialist integrated into the services a family is receiving.  And sadly its been a bit of a struggle with our state agency too.  What then, you may be wondering is ABA?

Behaviors Good?  Behaviors Socially Unacceptable?

Here is the definition from Wikipedia: Applied behavior analysis (ABA), previously known as behavior modification, is defined as the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the improvement of behavior.

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We Need Blessings in Our Lives

So my blessing?  Today I just learned there is company our hometown which has an ABA program that is approved by my state’s Department of Developmental Disabilities organization.  I’m so glad I woke up this morning thinking about this and started to look anew for a resource.  I had been using one company which recently absolutely fell short in addressing our needs, greatly disappointing me and leaving my daughter distraught.

But look at how this new company has formulated their treatment program:

“Direct one-on-one treatment is provided in home, and then generalized into the community, education setting or other setting as the client gains new skills. The program focuses on the systematic teaching of new skills as well as the reduction of problem behavior. Through the principles of applied behavior analysis, appropriate behaviors are taught using a combination of verbal behavior approaches, discrete trial teaching and natural environment teaching. Treatment focuses on behavior support that allows clients to achieve maximum potential in the following areas:

  • Language and Communication
  • Social Skills and Play
  • Pre-academic Skills
  • Daily Living Activities” 

I will be researching this company and making phone calls next week.  So…I feel I have been blessed because …

THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT MY DARLING PRECIOUS AND PRECOCIOUS DAUGHTER NEEDS!!!!

And for that matter, me too!  I find that I can go along in my management mode and loose the bubble on remaining cognizant of what she can and often times cannot do.  So yup, I could really use this blessing in my life too!

When Your Day Goes Haywire

Like a Lighthouse on a Rocky coast...When Things have gone haywire we need that light!

Like a Lighthouse on a Rocky Coast…When things have gone haywire we need that light!

Do you ever start out your day with that above question?  What about today is going to…

  • undermine my resolve to remain calm and in teaching mode
  • sap my energy
  • be a reason to smile ear to ear
  • offer an opportunity to learn something new
  • be a moment to relax and breathe
  • do something nice or fun for my kids and not just be about teaching, training, and correcting
  • do something nice, something fulfilling for me
  • get some exercise
  • sit with that cup of tea on the porch and enjoy the songs of spring from the birds

My 12 and I

It’s been spring break and I have 12 grandchildren.  This week I have four additional hearts and hopes that are a part of our household; two are pretty young, ages 3 and 4, and two are teens, 14 and 15.  We are busy that is for sure.  Two are still in pullups, not potty trained and one is terribly constipated.  And then, well, we all know how teens can be.  These are ALL good

We Are many Waters in My Household...Like this waterfall, always in motion!

We Are Many Waters in My Household…Like this waterfall, always in motion!

kids but whew, they can be so into their phones and games that sometimes just getting their attention is like poking at the wind.

I like giving everyone some time for pure fun (like going to the pool) and I want us to also do things that can build up our interests, open a new door to a possible passion, like the 18 year olds renewed interest in the simple ‘recorder’ air instrument, or maybe a career someday. We do all of this on my limited fixed income, having gone into an early retirement after my daughter passed away and her three children started a life with grandmother rather than mom.

Why My Story Matters….So Does Yours

You may remember from my profile that besides my dear youngest special needs girl, there are also the two oldest who lost their dad years ago so my home was the only reasonable place for them all following their mom’s death.  It’s been a rocky road though because they have been angry and we all know who we often strike out against when we are hurting inside.  Like that dog who gets his paw stepped on and he turns and bites you because, well it hurt and he was just defending himself.

True Words Spoken and On Spot With Our Goals.

True Words Spoken and On Spot With Our Goals.

We have had allot of defensive behaviors in our home. And of course those behaviors all surface around the learning curve and challenges of providing for our ‘special needs’ baby girl who isn’t a baby so much anymore but is six years old and in kindergarten and beginning to have behavior issues of her own. WHEW!

With all of this I bring these other children down for a visit so we can all keep building on our relationships (they are all cousins of course) and I have a foundation that I keep hoping will mean I have their ear when they might really need me, you know the voice of experience, with a measure of wisdom, I hope! Hope! I HOPE!

Sometimes Life is Hard

So do you have days when…

  • you feel like the rug gets pulled out from under you
  • something happens that you just have one more ball thrown into the juggling act you are already performing
  • you feel less than productive
  • you feel less organized
  • you feel less patient

I had another ball recently thrown into the mix to disrupt my daily routine.  I have had to make time to handle a legal issue that has come up because an out of state family member feels she should have visitation whenever she asks for it.  I’m being taken to court.  I have had to withdraw visitation until the child involved improves mentally and emotionally.  She had a rough 2014 summer, even being hospitalized for a week.  Until I see evidence that she is mentally and emotionally balanced again how can I send her back to where the behaviors took root?  I can’t!

Being Present IS a Present

There is Light on the Horizon...do you see it too>

There is Light on the Horizon…do you see it too?

What do you have on your plate that seems to be pushing all that valuable time and energy off onto the floor, when you want so much to be fully present and capably providing for your ‘special needs’ kiddo?  My heart goes out to you because as you can see, I have had a few things pushing the envelope on how my time is used.  I totally get how you can get stretched pretty thin!

I’m guessing you have a set of your own personal circumstances and time grabbers too.  Why not share those with us in your comments below.   And if you haven’t found out about ABA yet and discovered how it can benefit you and your child please do look into it with some of the information I have provided here.  I will pull some more together for another post soon.

In the meantime…why not share your experience with ABA or just life.  We will all benefit from the time you take to comment!

Drop Us a Comment and Share What Your Experience Has Been with Early Intervention!

Drop Us a Comment and Share What Your Experience Has Been with ABA and Life’s Challenging Moments!

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