This paper will describe the particular interest group (SIG) of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and the prospects of implementation of applied behavior analysis (ABA) to their benefit. This SIG is of particular interest to me as the volume of research that has been performed considering ABA interventions for people with ASD is extensive. This results from ABA being used to help children with ASD and related developmental disorders since the 1960s (Autism Speaks, n.d.). Thus, there is more data to be analyzed for this paper, and more relevant conclusions can be drawn based on the established consensuses in the medical and scientific societies.
The effectiveness and usefulness of ABA-based interventions for people with ASD have been proved numerous times. However, effectiveness is a vague concept without a proper context. The research by Makrygianni et al. (2018) was aimed at a meta-analysis of data collected from dozens of other studies to measure the degree of effectiveness of ABA regarding three specific variables. These variables were IQ scores, receptive and expressive language, and adaptive behavior (Makrygianni et al., 2018). The research concluded that ABA programs “were very effective in improving intellectual abilities; moderately to very effective in improving communication skills, expressive-language skills and receptive-language skills; moderately effective in improving IQ provided by non-verbal tests, adaptive behavior, socialization; and had low effectiveness in improving daily living skills” (Makrygianni et al., 2018, p. 18). Moreover, according to Ivy and Schreck (2016, p. 57), “ABA can be considered an efficacious treatment option for individuals with ASD across the lifespan if used with fidelity to the application of ABA principles.” Hence, it can be observed that ABA is effective and beneficial for people with ASD, regardless of their age.
There are countless opportunities in that domain regarding the implementation of specific ABA techniques to serve the target SIG. However, it is necessary to emphasize that ABA methods and techniques can and should vary greatly depending on the age of the target individuals (Ivy & Schreck, 2016). As mentioned before, ABA interventions have been used to help children with ASD for decades, and many valuable tools, techniques, and methods have been honed during that period. Nowadays, to further increase the effectiveness of ABA support, the involvement of parents is considered. The research by Fisher et al. (2020) discusses the effectiveness of the virtual-training program for teaching ABA skills to parents of children with autism. Such an approach is more inclusive, as it lowers the possible economic, geographic, and time barriers. Moreover, the closeness of family members can be an additional advantage when supporting children with ASD. According to the study, “parents in the treatment group showed large, statistically significant improvements on all dependent measures; those in the waitlist control group did not” (Fisher et al., 2020, p. 1856). Therefore, due to the mentioned advantages, this method can be recommended.
Regarding the ABA techniques that support adults with ASD, they can be concentrated on the specific job-task preferences of an individual. Those are used to create specific vocational skills – a set of relevant skills and appropriate workplace behavior. Moreover, adults with ASD can and should also learn personal, domestic, community, and leisure skills. This paper will recommend an ABA treatment method for adolescents and adults with ASD “consisting of graduated guidance, scripts, and script fading” (Dotto-Fojut et al., 2011, p. 831). The method is described in detail in the study by Dotto-Fojut and others (2011), and it was effective in teaching the group to independently ask for help, describe the problem, and request support. These skills are vital to build effective communications at work and succeed in most of the job tasks that a person can have.
Autism Speaks. (n.d.). Applied behavior analysis (ABA). Web.
Dotto-Fojut, K., Reeve, K., Townsend, D., & Progar, P. (2011). Teaching adolescents with autism to describe a problem and request assistance during simulated vocational tasks. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 5(2), 826-833.
Fisher, W.W., Luczynski, K.C., Blowers, A.P., Vosters, M.E., Pisman, M.D., Craig, A.R., Hood, S.A., Machado, M.A., Lesser, A.D., & Piazza, C.C. (2020). A randomized clinical trial of a virtual-training program for teaching applied-behavior-analysis skills to parents of children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 53(4), 1856-1875.
Ivy, J.W., & Schreck, K.A. (2016). The efficacy of ABA for individuals with autism across the lifespan. Current Developmental Disorders Report, 3, 57–66.
Makrygianni, M.K., Gena, A., Katoudi, S., & Galanis, P. (2018). The effectiveness of applied behavior analytic interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder: A meta-analytic study. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 51, 18-31.