Sunday, October 14, 2012

HABA Conference 2012

This weekend I attended the Hoosier Applied Behavior Analysis Conference in Indy.  I may have been the only parent there.  I'm not entirely sure, but I can say with certainty that there couldn't have been more than a handful of us.  The conference was mainly geared for therapists and BCBAs, but I gained a great perspective about the issues discussed among the people caring for Mikan.

One main theme of the conference was using data to drive treatments for Autism and avoiding the embrace of fad treatments that haven't been scientifically-proven effective.  Many speakers discussed being open to treatments other than ABA so long as there was data to support their effectiveness.  There was a lot of denouncement of some fad treatments that claimed to be scientifically proven, but weren't in actuality (according to the presentations).  Some of these included cranosacral therapy, sensory diets, the gluten-free/casein-free diets, reiki therapy, dolphin therapy, warm-water therapy, etc.  Mikan has been working with a sensory diet for the last two years.  While we've seen improvement, I think it's nearly impossible to isolate all of the different variables that may have been helping him along the way.  We will still continue the sensory regimen since it can't hurt (and he likes it).  

Anyway, I DO feel confident that his ABA therapy is helping him.  We have seen clear gains in short periods of time that are directly linked to his therapists' outlined goals.

Eating continues to remain a tiny bit better than his baseline.  He is regularly eating chicken nuggets and french fries when they are presented.  Not the healthiest, I know, but I am nevertheless ecstatic about it.  And he WANTS to eat them.  He asks for them.  He demands them sometimes.  No urging, bribing, playing, reinforcing is necessary.  I think he actually realized that he likes them.  I think.

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