Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS IN ASPERGER SYNDROME

Thinking about the future, I am really interested in working in the health field so my interest in treating Asperger syndrome in addition to other disorders is big.

Asperger syndrome is often misidentified because the symptoms of this syndrome usually co-occur with other disorders such as ADHD, OCD and mood disorders like depression or anxiety. It is common to diagnose the Asperger symptoms with one of these disorders instead identifying with Asperger syndrome or even Asperger syndrome with more disorders which is usual. Once that a proper diagnostic takes place by a professional, with an accurate treatment, patients are going to improve and they will make sense of their lives. Nowadays the Asperger’s diagnostic has improved significantly so it is much better than years before, but is common that professionals continue making mistakes in their studies.

Asperger syndrome takes part of the autism spectrum disorders, but exist clear differences respect to autism disorder, for example, the most important difference is that in Asperger syndrome does not exist mental retardation. These patients have, overall, social problems and impairments in communication skills but not language delays, so an effective therapy can lead to improve relationships and their interactions with others.

In the later years, ABA takes an important role in the science field. It consists in a method in which professionals pay attention to the relation between behaviour and environment. The analysis methods that they apply can help to change the behaviour and also can help patients to control better their acts in each specific context that they experiment. This method consists in establish techniques, positive reinforcement, extinction and includes teaching in small steps. It is developed for children and families affected with this syndrome. It has been recognised greatly dealing with this syndrome as well as autism and its effectiveness has been proved with different studies.

The treatment is independent in each child. It depends on the needs, circumstances and responses that each child experiments. It is important to deal with this type of syndrome in the early childhood so it has been established that social skills are related with cognitive skills and school success. Afterwards, neurology studies reveal that since the first months of life, exist alterations in the cerebral development in children affected by this syndrome, being implicated structural and functional alterations in cerebral regions such as middle frontal, cortex orbit frontal, limbic system, temporal lobe and so on.

According to the research of Kenworthy, Case, Harms , Martin  & Wallace (2009), they obtained information in communication skills, community use, functional academics, home living, health/safety, leisure, self-direction and social skills. They found in all these skills different scores between Asperger patients and control group, who do not have Asperger syndrome or any other disorder, being significantly bigger the results in Asperger patients. Asperger patients showed greater impairments in social skills and communication. They did not find correlation between IQ and social skills in Asperger group as previous researchers. They found that reports by patient’s parents are useful for helping to improve skills which are affected in their children.

REFERENCES


Harchik, A., Solotar, L. (2009). Asperger Syndrome and the Difficulties of Diagnosing and Treating Related Conditions, 9, 56-59.
Kenworthy, L., Case, L., Harms, M. B., Martin, A., & Wallace, G. L. (2010). Adaptive Behavior Ratings Correlate With Symptomatology and IQ Among Individuals With High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders, 40, 416-423.

Christopher Borden, M., & Dickstein, S. (2011). Treating individuals who have autism:
DSM-V, ABA, and beyond, 27, 1058-1073.






Gemma Fernández Álvarez





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