The ABA Jedi: Behaviour Analysis and the Force

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Soon, we are starting another round of ABA, or Applied Behaviour Analysis, as part of Autism therapy. It’s been a whole two years since our last ABA block, which is far too long. This time, we’re trying to incorporate perspective as it relates to social interactions. Think of behaviour as the Force and ABA as Jedi training.

How does ABA work? Essentially, it is a very scientific therapy method using fact gathering, incidence occurrence, and a rewards system to train young Autistic Padawans on the path to the Light. As Master Yoda says, “a Jedi’s strength flows from the Force. But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight.” In my son’s existence, truer words have never been spoken by any species in the universe.

Therefore, always work with a qualified ABA Master to develop an individualized training program that suits your child. Behaviour modification is a powerful tool that can easily lead to the Dark Side if not practiced properly. Our ABA Therapist is part of our local, publicly funded social services. Remember to check your organization’s and therapist’s credentials; thereby avoiding any hidden Siths. Due to an Autistic child’s ease of getting ‘stuck’ on a certain behaviour, the Dark Side can be difficult to ‘unlearn’.

Moreover, parents must record facts and follow through with the plan. Is it work? Yes. Is it effective? Yes, but only if parents stay committed to the ABA outline. My husband and I hope to help our Autistic C learn how to self-regulate in social circumstances. A big part of this is his lack of understanding other’s perspective in the moment.

As in art, perspective is simply a point of view. Autism kids find it very hard to understand interactions from another person’s perspective. In turn, this leads to social disturbances where the dark side overpowers the light. Once again, Master Yoda states, “Many of the truths that we cling to depend on our point of view.” If your child is not seeing the truth as it appears to his peers, then he will not have positive behaviour that reflects those perceived truths.

Will my young Padawan C pass his training and become a Jedi? Time will tell. His wonderful ABA therapist is helping us to develop a plan. By helping C develop an understanding of perspective, and subsequently control his behavioural forces in space, we hope to improve C’s social skills. As the wise Yoda laments, “Control, control, you must learn control!”

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