ABA Therapy is a vital part of the learning process for children with autism who are born without the ability to imitate and learn from all that they see. ABA Therapy uses specialized techniques to teach children to imitate behaviors and actions. By using a system of repetitions and reinforcements, children are literally taught how to learn. Whoever coined the saying that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery certainly captured the feeling of any parents who have an autistic child. While many parents don’t notice when their child picks up a new character trait from the outside world, autism parents celebrate it!
The way ABA Therapy works is by rewiring the parts of the brain responsible for learning. These neural pathways are often underdeveloped or developed differently in children with autism. Due to the adaptability of the human brain, ABA Therapy is able to alter these pathways, creating new neurons and pathways that allow autistic children to learn like their peers.
Sissy’s ABA therapists are currently working with her on imitation. Basically, whatever they do she has to imitate and then she is rewarded. At dinner the other night, she used these practices on us. She started touching her shoulders and nose and waited for us to imitate her. For an entire hour, we were her puppets! When we repeated the action, she clapped and said yay! As most autism parents, we will do anything for her to learn and grow as a child. That includes looking like dorks at the dinner table.
ABA Therapy is not a cure for autism, and no known cure exists. What ABA does offer, however, is a chance for recovery. Until then, we will be sissy’s little puppets.