Behavioral Treatments in Autism

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Behavioral Treatments in Autism


I. Introduction

A. Infantile Autism

B. Operant Learning Theory

C. Behavior Techniques

II. Target Behaviors

A. Aberrant Behaviors

B. Social Skills

C. Language

III. Behavioral Techniques

A. Aversive Stimuli

B. Noncontingent Access to Preferred Stimulus

C. Collateral Changes

D. Self-Management

E. Incidental Teaching

IV. Conclusion

A. Assessment

B. Environment

C. Generalization

Behavioral Treatments in Autism

Through the years since Kanner first described infantile autism, much research has amassed on different methods of treating those diagnosed with autism and the various deficits and excesses they possess. As the 1960’s began, the learning theory approach to treatment gained prominence and researchers used the principles of operant learning theory to develop new behavioral treatment techniques. Behavioral excesses and deficits were viewed as operant and controlled by environmental consequences and so modification of such consequences could change the behavior excesses and deficits. As the 1970’s arrived there was an increase in the amount of research in behavioral treatment of autism with a more focused approach to target behaviors and an increase in sophisticated behavioral techniques (Matson, Benavidez, Compton, Paclawskyj & Baglio, 1996). This has been an area of intense research and many children have benefited as a result of the developments. However, each method has its limitations and is not always significantly effective. It is said that autism is uncritical thinking dominated by fantasies that have little or no relation to reality; the gratification of wishes and desires in imagination (Goldenson, 1970). Behavioral approaches to treating ...

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