Behavioural Intervention for Autism -
Our Experience in the UK
Welcome to the 'Behavioural Intervention for Autism - Our Experience in the UK'. It's rather a long title but I hope it gives a good indication of what what this website is about. If you have visited before, then you will find that it has been expanded a little.
My aim is to try to help other parents of autistic children to benefit from our experience. We would have liked to have been told of the options and given some help with regards to Behavioural Intervention when our child (Paul) was two when it is apparently much more effective. Instead we had to find things out for ourselves, decide which was the best option and then organise our own Behavioural Intervention when Paul was four and a half!
Our son, Paul, is now five and a half years old. After a lot of research (mostly using the Internet), we decided to start Behavioural Intervention (Lovaas Type) in July 1997 and we have now been doing it for ten months. These are some details of behavioural intervention, why we chose it and other related items.
Starting Behavioural Intervention
We were undecided for several months before we decided to definitely go for behavioural intervention after observing another autistic child being tutored. In retrospect we should have decided much earlier but unfortunately we had no-one to guide us and there were such a large range of possibilities. If we had decided to go for Behavioural Intervention earlier we might have been able to stop Paul from getting into some bad habits which he now has to unlearn. Our impression is also that Behavioural Therapy seems to be more effective with younger children. However this means that there is not much time between realising that your child may be autistic and the need to start Behavioural Therapy. It would have been very helpful if somebody in the health services had told us about Behavioural Therapy when Paul was two!
We also undecided because we hoped that Paul would progress naturally. We had numerous comments about the fact that some children were late in developing but ended up the same as other children. However this possibility receded over the years. Not only did Paul seem to stop progressing, he seemed to go into reverse. We found this very difficult/traumatic because 'normal' children seem to automatically develop at a very rapid rate and although we knew that some children didn't, it is like an earthquake when it happens to your own child. (One of the worst things was when other parents with children of a similar age were saying all the things their child could now do!)
When we decided to start behavioural intervention we asked around for a supervisor but unfortunately none were available (I think this is a common experience in the UK). We therefore decided to make the best of it and start on our own although it was obviously not the most desirable way and we didn't know very much about it. We bought some books and my wife started a programme in a small way. Then we were lucky enough to hear of some American supervisors who would be in London on holiday in July and arranged with another family to have a joint workshop with them. We then set about recruiting tutors(mostly students) and were again lucky to get some names from other families in our area who had programmes of behavioural intervention. We were on our way!
The workshop went well and over the summer we did the programme with Paul (unfortunately it meant we had to cancel our summer holiday !). Since then we have had tutors leave for various reasons and have had to start training new tutors. Our tutors are mostly Psychology or Education students but anybody who is committed, willing to learn the method, reliable and trustworthy will do! However we were recently lucky enough to get a supervisor (they are in great demand!) who comes in alternate weeks and have just done a one day introductory course for our new tutors.
Since 3rd June 1998
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