What is ABA therapy?

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A parent’s description

Therapists come to your home and help your child learn a wide range of things: gross and fine motor skills, language games, reading and writing, comprehension, social stories. You quickly appreciate the energy, patience and range of teaching skills the therapists have. They use a lot of positive reinforcement, including rewards for completing tasks.

The programmes are very dynamic and updated regularly. Parental input is essential to the success of the child and includes providing and making resources, attending case management and generalising the skills your child is being taught. 

Case management is held regularly which involves meeting with the case manager to revise the programme and accurately target the child’s needs. The case manager also helps parents work through challenges as they arise. 

Visit the kids & parents part of the site [link] to read citations from parents and example descriptions of the therapy programmes for the children. 

For parents seeking help with their child with autism, these steps can be valuable and reassuring:

  • having a conversation with another parent(s) whose child has had therapy
  • talking to the therapy case manager
  • observing a therapy session
  • watching video clips of kids in therapy sessions on YouTube
  • reading about other kinds of therapy or activity or 'interventions' that help children and people on the spectrum

 

A therapist's description

Each child has an individual programme, which is constantly evolving with the child as they grow and develop their skills.

We do two-hour sessions with children in their homes, school environment and social situations. We use ABA and discrete trial training. I've also worked as a case manager, where I developed the programmes for the kids, along with the assistance of a registered Australian psychologist who makes regular visits to New Zealand. The group of therapists meet regularly to build skills and knowledge.

We work in varied multidisciplinary teams, often consisting of speech therapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, school staff and parents.

 

A case manager's description

We work in varied multidisciplinary teams, often consisting of speech therapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, school staff and parents. 

As a therapist, I do two-hour sessions with children in their homes, school environment and social situations. We use ABA and discrete trial training. As case manager I develop their individualized programmes, along with the assistance of a registered Australian psychologist who makes regular visits to New Zealand. These programmes are constantly evolving with the child as they grow and develop their skills. – Emily Ware. 

 

Why don’t some people seek therapy for their children on the spectrum?

 There are many possible reasons for this, such as:

  • they simply don't know about it yet (it isn't government-funded, and so usually promoted by people working within health and education)
  • the financial cost, or, a perception of this cost
  • some parents find these kinds of interventions too emotionally difficult
  • some parents don’t believe that therapy will help their child
  • the extra work and time involved (meetings, assessments, resources, possibly fundraising etc)

 

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Our ABA therapists

Our therapists are skilled, empathic and patient, and hard-working.

It's a rewarding job that suits people who are kind and quick-witted, and flexible in how they think and work and explain things to others. Most either have training in psychology or education. Some of the therapists working with our children have gone on to become clinical psychologists.

Hi, I'm Carmen

I’m the case manager for the team here. I enjoy being a behaviour therapist as I love children. I enjoy finding out what makes each and every one of them the wonderful individual that they are. Every child has their own unique thing to teach us and I enjoy learning from them as I help them achieve their own personal goals.

I studied psychology and neuroscience at the University of Otago. I hope to one day qualify as a clinical psychologist so I can keep helping children achieve their potential.

Hey, I’m Jessie

I am a third year psychology student at the University of Otago. With my degree coming to an end I am thrilled to be jumping on board with the ISAAD team. Through working with the kids and their dedicated families, I have become a huge advocate for ABA therapy. The kids’ motivation and willingness to learn makes my day, and I am excited to watch them grow.


Related links

 

ISADD

Psychologists from ISADD (Intervention Services for Autism and Developmental Delay) in Western Australia provide accreditation, resources, training, and assessments for children. 

 

Autism Intervention Trust

Autism Intervention Trust is a group of parents in Wellington with a similar pro-active approach to our group. As well as early intervention, they offer a gym class and a holiday programme. 

 

Autism NZ and Altogether Autism

The Otago branch of Autism NZ offers education and training programmes, and resources. 

Altogether Autism is an information and advisory service.

 

Charities Register

Why refer to the Charities Register? If you are a potential funder, helper or a concerned parent, you might want to see more info about the top-level purpose and financial statements of these different groups.

Autism NZ Incorporated on the NZ Charities Register

Parent To Parent New Zealand Incorporated on the NZ Charities Register. Parent to Parent is the umbrella organisation of Altogether Autism.

Otago Children's Autism Support Group Trust Board (this group) on the NZ Charities Register