Discrete trial ABA has fall out of favor with autistic adults, especially those who were put through years of this approach. The main problem appears to be a basic confrontationalism in the methodology which in turn causes cumulative stress (the cell danger response) and ultimately impairs learning, and development, and even causes trauma. The quest for compliance in autistic children is in itself dangerous because training a child to automatically be compliant towards adults obviously makes them vulnerable to adults whose intentions are less than good.
Negotiation, arguing, self-advocacy – in short, the most important survival skills for any human being – are often not just discouraged but almost eclipsed with traditional, discrete trial ABA. However ABA is one of the few therapies that insurance will pay for and it’s what is most familiar.
So what to do? ABA often sells itself as being the only science based autism approach out there. Fortunately, this is no longer the case. Movement Method, Horse Boy Method and other more compassionate approaches have now been extensively studied at universities around the world, especially in northern Europe and Scandinavia which are universally regarded as the cutting edge in educational science, academic results, and positive human outcomes.
Compassionate Behavioral Approach answers the dilemma of how to deliver the best parts of behaviorism without the worst. The reason it is so effective is that – like Movement Method and Horse Boy Method – it was designed with the direct mentorship of adult autists.
Dr. Temple Grandin and other adult autists have helped us design a new approach to behaviorism, that avoids the cell danger response and encourages self-advocacy. Instead of neuro-typical people arrogantly imposing a set of outside methodologies, Compassionate Behavioral Approach only implements methodologies approved by autists and endorsed by neuro-scientists (LINK).
Instead of compliance, CBA teaches cooperation. Instead of “quiet hands” CBA sees the value of stimming and how stimms can be transformed into ultimately livelihood producing skills.
Instead of insisting on eye-contact which triggers the cell danger response in the CBA teaches autists how to fake contact in order to keep themselves feeling safe while operating in the neuro-typical world.
Instead of rewarding an effort with something the child wants to do, CBA is delivered exclusively through activities the child is intrinsically motivated to do and which create joy, which in turn enhances neuro trophic factor in the brain.
Instead of sitting at desks in confined rooms CBA is all about movement, exploration, discovery and wonder.
These are just a few ways in which CBA – designed with the mentorship of autists – differs from Discrete Trial ABA.
Most importantly, CBA celebrates and recognizes the wonderful way of being that is Autism and enhances its innate gifts like lack of ego, intellectual focus, and authenticity. At the same time it helps give tools to allow autists to navigate the shark infested waters of neuro-typical humanity while at the same time honoring the individual.
For parents and practitioners that need a therapeutic approach that insurance will pay for CBA answers a need. Find CBA Mentors here. (LINK) If you are an ABA therapist and would like to add CBA to your practice click here to get started (LINK to page for CBA ONLINE COURSES WHICH MUST BE FIRST MM1&2 and then a CBA module)