Trends in Autism Education

Cognitive theorists have studied controlled experiments to find that we are more likely to repeat a task if we are motivated to.  That being said has lead many to a data driven system for teaching called applied behavioral anyalis or ABA.  The trend in autism education has shifted from a very controlled teaching situation to a more modern and outside the box kind of classroom setting where learning can take place.  ABA boasts to have the best results and guarantee’s progress and it does prove to help many with autism. Yet what we have now realized is that children who have had ABA are now programmed to behave only specific to therapists and teaching settings.  This isn’t helpful for family members who then take care of individuals on the spectrum.  There are now alternative ways to teach those on the spectrum and the untraditional methods seem to be working just as well as ABA.  Classes that teach hands on learning and teamwork help to generalize skills that can prepare a child for the “real world” and job setting.  We must think long term with our teaching rather than fast rote and at a table.  I do believe that ABA has its effectiveness but we need to deliver ABA in a way that it encompasses the whole child.  The days of rigid ABA therapists are soon over.  The demand of data and a fast pace teaching set up can cause quick burn out in the field and cause student’s to feel artificial.  The next wave of teaching children with autism will go with a positive side, including the strengths of a child and rather not what they are lacking.  As we know life is flexible and our teaching styles will reflect that as well, it doesn’t mean that we lower our standards but that we are more aware of the whole picture.