Use in ABA Therapy
Applied Behavior Analysis (“ABA”) is an evidence-based intervention for children with autism, usually involving 25-40 hours per week of one-on-one therapy. In these ABA sessions, the child works through a hierarchy of skills to build communication, social interaction, and appropriate behaviors. Hope Unleashed introduces a new element to these ABA sessions: a trained dog, provided though Vested Partners, another local nonprofit organization. This component of Hope Unleashed must be individualized to meet each child’s specific ABA program. For example, if the child is working on developing communication, the dog might serve as a catalyst for the child’s initiation of requests (to perform “trick’s” designed to meet the child’s interests). If the child is learning particular aspects of speech, the dog can be used to demonstrate those new vocabulary words (such as “on,” “beside,” “under,” etc.). If a child struggles with self-stimulatory behavior (“stimming”) that interrupts learning and life, the dog can be used to interrupt those behaviors.