Christian Living


Help for Autistic Kids

CBN.com - Few disorders are as mysterious and as heart wrenching as autism, and parents of autistic children are understandably anxious about choosing the right approach. Unfortunately, this combination of anxiety and uncertainty makes families vulnerable to seizing on the latest unscientific “cure,” or treating a “cause” of autism that has no basis in clinical proof.

With the release of Sense and Nonsense in the Behavioral Treatment of Autism: It Has To Be Said, written by Ronald Leaf, Ph.D., John McEachin, Ph.D., Mitchell Taubman, Ph.D., and their colleagues at Autism Partnership, the authors hope to clear up misconceptions about Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, an approach with decades of data to support its effectiveness.

Despite the evidence behind ABA, and the often complete lack of research to support alternative methods such as nutritional therapies, animal-assisted therapy, aromatherapy, and other treatments, “ABA is not inherently glamorous,” explains Dr. Leaf. “There are also many misconceptions surrounding it. We’ve heard that it will turn children into robots, and that ABA is done in a sterile, unnaturally isolated setting.” Dr. Leaf cites ABA’s scientific approach, which can lack in glamour vs. the latest celebrity-endorsed treatment fads, and says, “It’s easy to see why people may be thrown off track.” Dr. McEachin adds, “Frankly, there are also less-than-professional ABA practitioners out there who have given the process a bad name. In fact, ABA can be employed very positively with a high degree of flexibility, and the results are empirically documented.”

"This book is designed to provide parents and professionals with clear information and user friendly tools to sift through the important issues relating to autism treatment and ultimately generate solutions that are truly in the best interests of the child with autism" offers Dr. Taubman.

With Sense and Nonsense, the authors hope to empower readers to think critically and scientifically, so that they can best evaluate whether a given method can deliver on its promises. Written for the layperson, the 253-page book includes chapters on ABA, myths and realities about the various treatment options, critical thinking about causality vs. correlation, home vs. school, inclusion in mainstream education, and much more.

Sense and Nonsense in the Behavioral Treatment of Autism: It Has To Be Said is published by DRL Books and is available at bookstores nationwide and on amazon.com. Other works written or contributed to by the authors include A Work in Progress, a widely used treatment manual, along with It's Time for School!: Building Quality ABA Education Programs for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Autism Partnership is the nation’s premier agency dedicated to providing intensive behavior intervention for children with autism and their families. Established in 1994 by world-renowned psychologists Ron Leaf and John McEachin, Autism Partnership offers a comprehensive program and a variety of proven services, including in-home, in-classroom, and one-on-one, as well as lectures and workshops. All programs are handled by expert teachers and tailored to each individual child, family, and caregiver, with the goal of helping that child achieve their best life.

For more information, visit www.autismpartnership.com.

Ron Leaf is a licensed psychologist who has over 25 years of experience in the field of autism. Dr. Leaf began his career working with Ivar Lovaas, while receiving his undergraduate degree at UCLA. Subsequently, he received his doctorate under the direction of Dr. Lovaas. During his professional training at UCLA, he served as Clinic Supervisor, Research Psychologist, Lecturer, and Interim Director of the Young Autism Project. He was extensively involved in many of the Young Autism Project research investigations, contributed to The Me Book, and is co-author of The Me Book Videotapes, a series of instructional tapes offering training for teaching autistic children. He is co-author of A Work in Progress, a manual on behavioral treatment. Dr. Leaf has consulted nationally and internationally to families, school districts, day programs, and residential treatment facilities. Dr. Leaf served as the Director of Straight Talk's Developmental Disabilities Services division for 15 years. This program provided residential and day treatment for adults with developmental disabilities. Dr. Leaf is also the Executive Director of Behavior Therapy and Learning Center, a mental health agency providing treatment, consultation, and related services to parents, program staff, and school personnel.


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