Monday, March 21, 2011

Did you know....

That there are only two treatments approved by the medical mainstream? They are Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Risperdal (Risperdoine). 

ABA is.....
Applied behavior analysis is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the improvement in behavior (Baer, Wolf & Risley, 1968; Sulzer-Azaroff & Mayer, 1991). 
“Socially significant behaviors” include reading, academics, social skills, communication, and adaptive living skills. Adaptive living skills include gross and fine motor skills, eating and food preparation, toileting, dressing, personal self-care, domestic skills, time and punctuality, money and value, home and community orientation, and work skills.
ABA methods are used to support persons with autism in at least six ways:
  • to increase behaviors (eg reinforcement procedures increase on-task behavior, or social interactions);
  • to teach new skills (eg, systematic instruction and reinforcement procedures teach functional life skills, communication skills, or social skills);
  • to maintain behaviors (eg, teaching self control and self-monitoring procedures to maintain and generalize job-related social skills);
  • to generalize or to transfer behavior from one situation or response to another (eg, from completing assignments in the resource room to performing as well in the mainstream classroom);
  • to restrict or narrow conditions under which interfering behaviors occur (eg, modifying the learning environment); and
  • to reduce interfering behaviors (eg, self injury or stereotypy). (

ABA is not....

  • Generally covered under insurance.
  • Quick, cheap or easy. It usually is a 10-40+ hour per week therapy whereby multiple ABA specialists will work with your child in your home (although that is not always the case). The rates for ABA are based on number of specialists, these specialists are paid by the hour. Ten hours per week usually runs around $500. 
  • Available in public schools, even though the model and method lends itself easily to the class room setting. (see a list of schools who say they have ABA as primary intervention:

Risperdal is....
"Risperidone is used to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia (a mental illness that causes disturbed or unusual thinking, loss of interest in life, and strong or inappropriate emotions) in adults and teenagers 13 years of age and older. It is also used to treat episodes of mania (frenzied, abnormally excited, or irritated mood) or mixed episodes (symptoms of mania and depression that happen together) in adults and in teenagers and children 10 years of age and older with bipolar disorder (manic depressive disorder; a disease that causes episodes of depression, episodes of mania, and other abnormal moods). Risperidone is also used to treat behavior problems such as aggression, self-injury, and sudden mood changes in teenagers and children 5-16 years of age who have autism (a condition that causes repetitive behavior, difficulty interacting with others, and problems with communication). Risperidone is in a class of medications called atypical antipsychotics. It works by changing the activity of certain natural substances in the brain." (

Risperdal is not..... 

  • a SSRI or an Amphetamine, it is a combination of both.
  • Zoloft, Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Celexa, Prozac, Ritalin, etc. These drugs are commonly prescribed off label to treat some of the symptoms of Autism. 
  • forthcoming with its level of effectiveness. I've only found one site which comments on the 2- eight week placebo trials of 156 children ( They put the effectiveness at around 68% (69 out of 101 kids). 
  • Free of side effects. The medication website lists the rate of side effects occuring at a rate of at least 10%. 

Autism effects 1 in 110 children & 1 in 70 boys, there are 2 medically approved treatment options.  Of those 2 medically approved treatment options, one requires significant personal cost in both time and money and other requires constant care and consideration of a medical professional to decrease the likelihood of possible long term and potentially deadly side effects. And people wonder why the Autism community are constantly looking "outside the box" for treatment of our kids? Given those two options, wouldn't you?

1 comment:

  1. Another brilliant piece! I can't believe the situation we find ourselves in, with a ton of treatments to choose from, but most very expensive and none offered by insurance.. As if it wasn't overwhelming enough to figure out which of the 100 you're going to try, you get to figure out how to pay for it too..