Families for Effective Autism Treatment hosted a workshop for individuals who have experience in working with children with developmental disabilities.
The individuals learned different techniques and methodologies of Applied Behavior Analysis, the science of modifying behavior using modern behavioral theory.
The workshop consisted of a series of lectures led by Ellen Catoe of Texana Children’s Center for Autism, and break-out sessions, where the participants divided in to groups of five and applied the theories and methods of ABA through role-play.
Catoe presented power point lectures called “ABC’s of ABA,” which illustrated basic ways an instructor can deal with a child with autism – such as prompting, assistance in getting a response from individual and fading out where less assistance is needed.
“Approximately one in 100 children are diagnosed with some form of autism. Our goal is to provide education and information on how they can help children with autism,” Catoe said. “The goal of these workshops is to help further educate the public on how to help these children to be successful and independent.”
Ellen Goudeau, member of FEAT, has a 21-year-old son who suffers from autism and is grateful for how much the organization has helped her tackle adversity.
“If it was available to us when he was three — when we knew what the diagnosis was — I think he would have progressed a lot faster. It has literally saved my life. One of us was going to have to leave home. He destroyed everything,” Goudeau said. “This program helped. He has more verbal and cognitive skills now.”
Even with the advanced technology and programs, some instructors are still having difficulties dealing with children who have autism. There are still many challenges these teachers face: the child not looking at the instructor, not sitting at a desk and throwing away the training materials.
“Autism is still prevalent and on the rise. Some schools still have funding difficulties and cuts. A lot of the population needs more individualized treatment that the school can’t provide. Unfortunately, a lot of the school personnel isn’t trained,” Catoe said.