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ABA therapy is incredibly helpful for children with autism and can also greatly benefit those with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Medical experts often recommend combining behavioral therapy with prescribed medications for people dealing with ADHD. This combined approach effectively manages symptoms, even the severe ones.

Behavioral therapy has been successful in addressing issues related to ADHD, making it the preferred method for developing skills in individuals with this disorder.

Let’s take a look at how ABA therapy can help children with ASD and ADHD.

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition that affects how the brain develops. People with ASD might find it hard to interact socially, communicate normally, and may repeat behaviors or have very specific interests.

They may also learn, move, or focus very differently compared to others, and it is important to note that some people without ASD can show similar traits.

However, for those with ASD, these characteristics can make everyday life more challenging, which makes early diagnosis and intervention ever so important.

Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is often found in kids early on and is related to trouble controlling impulses, making it hard to think before acting. Symptoms include very easy to get distracted and having trouble paying attention.

The main symptoms include:

  • Trouble focusing
  • Acting without thinking
  • Talking a lot
  • Being very active
  • Having trouble socializing

ADHD falls down into three categories: hyperactivity, inattention, and combined type.

Hyperactivity, or impulsivity otherwise called, can cause fidgeting or trouble with sitting still. It might lead to interrupting or speaking out of turn.

Inattention means struggling with time management and finishing tasks neatly, or simply finishing them at all. Combined symptoms happen when both hyperactivity and inattention are there, which is also the case.

How ABA Therapy works on Both

Behavioral therapy, according to the CDC, helps reduce unwanted behaviors in ADHD patients, much like it does for those with autism.

Studies have shown that a mix of medication and ABA therapy is quite effective for many children with ADHD, and it has been consistently proven to be beneficial for kids with ASD.

However, some children might be too young for treatment, so it is best for parents to talk to a doctor for age-appropriate advice. That said, an experienced ABA therapist for autism can greatly advise on best practices and exercises for both during therapy sessions and at home.

In the meantime, parents can use ABA therapy methods to ease ADHD symptoms too.

ABA Therapy Techniques

ABA therapy aims to improve behavior through a three-step process, starting with the antecedent.

The antecedent signals what is expected and what should follow certain behaviors. This step focuses on how behaviors happen and what happens afterward. Parents and therapists use techniques to encourage good behaviors in kids.

Here are some commonly known techniques:

Responsive Training

In play-based therapy, using this method, children work on their social skills and their learning abilities.

While undergoing response training, therapists and parents react directly to the child’s behavior, like if they ask for something correctly, they get rewarded with items related to their therapy.

Trial Training

This approach breaks down lessons into a few clear steps and processes. Patients get rewards for showing the right behaviors and using these rewards helps a lot for children with ASD and ADHD.

Self-Management Training

Self-management training is for older ASD and ADHD patients as it helps them follow their treatment and control their behavior on their own. This is something children cannot do, so this method is best used for older patients.

With that in mind, therapists who are using this method guide them on how to reward themselves for good behaviors, helping them learn important skills.

Best Therapy for Children with ASD & ADHD

While there are many therapies for treating children with ASD and ADHD, how they are delivered can differ, especially between adults and children.

Adult treatment is quite different from children’s treatment, which often includes parents, therapists, and teachers.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the best and most commonly used approach that has been highly successful, particularly for children. It has even helped some children to stop using medication entirely, which is an immensely important progress.

Wrapping up

To sum up, the ABA therapy approach differs between adults and kids, often involving parents and teachers in children’s therapy. By focusing on positive behaviors using techniques like self-management and reinforcement, patients suffering from ASD and ADHD can enjoy daily tasks much more so than before.

Considering this, it is very clear that ABA therapies can greatly benefit children diagnosed with autism or ADHD.


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