There are so many emerging and established treatments, therapies, and services for Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD. And though the research and emphasis placed on these treatments is great – it can make it difficult to know which is best for you, your family, and your unique situation.
That’s why ABC Pediatrics has decided to share our guide on some of the most common and popular Autism treatments and therapies that we offer, as well as the differentiation between them.
This week let’s look at Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Verbal Behavioral Therapy (VBT).
ABA Therapy (Applied Behavior Analysis) is mainly focused on improving specific behaviors and meeting specific goals of an individual or family, this means that ABA isn’t a cookie-cutter plan but looks a little different for every client, patient, or child. It’s actually right in the name – we start out by performing a behavior analysis on the individual, which allows us to learn their strengths and struggles, we then apply that analysis to their unique plan, strategy, and treatment goals.
Often for children with ASD, communication and social skills are the main goals of ABA Therapy, however, life skills are often brought in as well – also called Daily Living Skills (DLS). These can include eating, movements, mobility, caring for themselves, and more – essentially all of the skills the individual will need to have the best quality of life and the most independence.
Check out what Psychology Today has to say about Applied Behavioral Analysis below:
CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, is a therapy technique meant to help individuals understand their own emotions and behaviors better. This insight can help them deal with stressful situations like school or social settings, as well as improve their communication skills of how they are feeling, fairing, and how others can help.
CBT isn’t used only for individuals with ASD, but also for anxiety and depression, which are common comorbid diagnosis for those on the Autism spectrum. Learn more about co-occurring disorders and diagnosis from our last blog post here.
Want to learn more about CBT and it’s growing popularity with a number of disorders? Check out VeryWellMind.com and their snippet about CBT below, or our very own CBT guide on our resources and blog page here.
VBT is an offshoot of CBT but focuses more on verbal over only emotional skills. And though both CBT and VBT use ABA to guide their lessons and goals, VBT tends to lean their goals towards communication, clarity, and understanding/performing requests – both verbal, physical, and through other avenues.
Both CBT and VBT are usually in 1 on 1 settings, which allow your child to feel comfortable around their therapist, as well as stay calmer in a learning environment which could be stressful for them. Verbal Behavioral Therapy at its core is about making associations between words, objects, and their purpose or use. This means even a nonverbal child could be able to communicate with his or her family and environment, which is the ultimate goal of VBT.
As Autism Speaks puts it, VBT does not only focus on words, but on why we use words and how they are able to be used and useful for individuals to make their requests.
Learn more about Verbal Behavioral Therapy from the Autism Speaks article here.