What is ABA, and is it a help or a hinderance? – Jennifer Hubbard’s view

When Autism: Challenging Behaviour was first broadcast on BBC Four on Tuesday 5th November 2013, it opened up the idea of using Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) as a therapy which could help autistic children to improve their developmental skills through intensive support and praise.

By focussing on the work that is done at Treetops School, a state school in Grays, Essex which is run as a day special school for children and young people with moderate to severe learning difficulties, and also on the work of Gunnar Frederiksen, an ABA consultant in Sweden, the documentary showed how ABA can help or hinder an autistic person through focussing on three case studies.

The results on screen for three-year-old Jack and four-year-old Jeremiah were positive to see from their care at Treetops, though 16-year-old Richard seemed profoundly affected by the therapy he received as a child from Gunnar. This provoked a positive and negative response, even though views were not shared at the time of writing What is ABA, and is it a help or a hinderance? by anybody directly linked with ABA at Treetops or with Gunnar himself. Continue reading

What is ABA, and is it a help or a hinderance?

Until I sat down to watch Autism: Challenging Behaviour on BBC Four, a British television channel, on Tuesday 5th November 2013, I had no idea what Applied Behaviour Analysis was.

I had no idea what it meant, I had no idea what it entailed, and I had no idea how it could be used in a variety of different ways to try and help autistic children to overcome issues they face as a result of being autistic.

Watching the documentary though was a learning curve for me as an autistic adult who has always gone through life by facing challenges which have toughened me up. It was an insight into the work that is done by Treetops School, a state school in Grays, Essex which uses ABA to deal with pupils that have severe learning disabilities, and it divided opinions on Facebook and Twitter from those who watched it. Continue reading