The CDC estimates the prevalence of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is one in 88 live births (one in 56 boys and one in 256 girls). These patients are at greater risk for oral problems, due to behavior and communication issues, personal neglect, avoidance of social contact, and medication side effects.
A recent article* (reference available on request) discussed applying the Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) – a learning method used to help these patients build “socially useful repertoires”, and “reduce socially problematic ones.”
One way to implement this method is by using a Picture Activity Schedule – a series of pictures showing the procedures to learn.
A study to test the effectiveness of this method was carried out at Nassau Suffolk Services for Autism. Each child’s baseline results were compared with his or her post-ABA results. Patients were shown pictures of the planned procedures twice a day for 2 weeks.
After 2 weeks of ABA training, 13 completed all steps (more than before), 2 completed some and the same student failed to complete any of the steps. The students also showed significantly faster completion times after picture training.
At OSL, we have also implemented this concept, and we are thrilled with outcomes to-date:
1. We use videos demonstrating the planned procedure with all of our patients as a way to prepare for a successful appointment, or
2. We ask the non-ASD sibling to go first for the records with the ASD sibling watching his or her sibling
3. We show the patient a picture of what the next step is to communicate to the patient in the chair.