Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Changing Interventions, Part I: Transitioning Out of Intensive ABA

Nicky has been getting various ABA based interventions since he was diagnosed, which means our entire family has been getting ABA since he was diagnosed! Now his team is saying he's had these services too long. Combined with CA in budget crisis, well they have to move the kids forward. They are nudging us toward a new model "Life Skills" described as more flexible than our current program. Flexible??? What does that mean? More flexible, for who? Does it mean a lower grade services provided by staff with less skill? Does it mean we're on our own now? Does it mean this is his plateau?  Does it mean he will lose his structure and regress?
I Don't Want to Change!!!!!!!

I know we've been working toward this moment. We've changed his school program to be life skills based, we took him off the diploma track and my team says this will be good.

I'm nervous, anxious and feeling ton's of uncertainly. I'm not sure how much of my response is rational and how much is just my visceral reaction to change with some random fear thrown in. If it's fear, am I afraid for him or am I afraid for me? Maybe I'm not sure if I will be able to handle it. 

One things for sure, this journey has taught me I don't like change! They say our kids become prompt dependent, maybe I'm support dependent. Ugh!!!  I'll keep you posted.


  1. Hi Donna,

    My son recently completed an 18 month adaptive skills program, after over 8 years of DTT/ABA. The adaptive skills program was great, much more "real life". We were able to go out into the community, participate in social/rec programs with support and work on tasks at home such as making the bed, cooking, bike riding, going grocery shopping. My son learned so much. It was a good thing!

    From another NLACRC area mom,

  2. Hi "Another Mother from NLACRC"...really appreciate your feedback. You've just confirmed my thought. It's the mama who's having the challenge and not the kiddo! Thanks and great to hear from you.

  3. The push to get children out of intensive ABA is a funding model designed to save the state money. If your child will NOT make it to a general education classroom, the ABA policy is to get rid of him/her. It sounds cruel but they designed this model a long time ago. Evidence-based intensive Applied Behavior Analysis has been proven to work. But they cannot pay for all children because is costs approx. $65,000 per year. So, they have been trying to pass a law for DDS and "one" regional center (likely, Valley Mountain Regional Center) to "deem" certain kids eligible and certain kids not eligible. The ones that are not eligible are measured using criteria that they will not do well in a classroom with non disabled children--the ones they have a right to be with with the intensive ABA one-to-one support. Sadly, DDS and Valley Mountain Regional Center in the San Joaquin valley, devised a "Pyramid of Service Delivery" to give intensive ABA to children who will become "tax payers" (Lovaas,(2003). Teaching Individuals with Developmental Delays: Basic Intervention Techniques. Austin, TX: ProEd. p.378. On p.382, they designed the "matrix" of services that include, once your child is deemed ineligible, administrators of your school district and regional center convince you that a "functional" or "life skills" or "less intense" classroom or placement will be "better." The truth is, over 550 research studies of intensive ABA says it works. THERE IS NO RESEARCH THAT STATES THAT NON INTENSIVE SPECIAL DAY CLASS is proven to work. In fact, research states that public programs that say they are "based" on ABA, are actually lacking in integrity and fidelity. These non intensive programs will cause your child "no progress".

    Please see http://autismreform.tripod.com/home.html