Autism is a complex neurological disorder that typically appears during the first three years of life. It is characterized by deficits in communication and social interaction. Individuals with autism often exhibit stereotyped/repetitive patterns of behavior. There is no known cause or cure for autism. However, there are research-based interventions that have been effective in the treatment of autism.

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a research- based methodology that is effective for children with autism.ABA has been associated with positive outcomes for children with autism. ABA can be implemented in the home, community and classroom environments.

ABA utilizes techniques such as:

  • Discrete-trial teaching
  • Differential reinforcement
  • Positive behavior supports
  • Functional behavioral assessments
  • Incidental teaching
  • Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
  • Functional communication training

Autism is one of five disorders that fall under the umbrella of Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD). Some of the characteristics of autism include but are not limited to:

  • Social impairment
  • Inflexibility
  • Delayed or minimal language
  • Echolalia (repeating words or phrases out of context)
  • Little or no eye contact
  • Tantrums
  • Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms
  • (hand- flapping, twirling, spinning)
  • Lack of spontaneous or pretend play
  • Lack of interest in peer relationships
  • Restricted interests
  • Self-injurious behavior