Welcome to our resource page. Here you will find recommended reading, lists of research papers on ABA/Vb, and links to other websites which you may find helpful.
Autism Information and Advice
The Autism Toolbox – A website for Scottish Schools, developed by the Scottish Government in partnership with Scottish Autism, with support from Autism Network Scotland – information on ABA/VB interventions.
YouTube Video – A video showing the progress of twins with autism, following an intensive ABA programme. Initially they did not respond to their parents and exhibited severely challenging behaviours.
US Surgeon-General endorsement – The Surgeon-General in the US endorsed ABA for autism as long ago as 1999; the list of organisations also endorsing it includes the American Society of paediatricians.
The National Autistic Society – Further information and advice about autism
ACE – Advisory Centre for Education
IPSEA – Independent Panel of Special Educational Advisers
SOSSEN – The Independent Helpline for Special Educational Needs
ABA Schools UK – details or other ABA schools in the UK (England, at present)
ABAI – Association for Behaviour Analysis International
BACB – Behaviour Analyst Certification Board
Research Autism – is an independent organisation which evaluates interventions used in the UK for children with autism
Mark L. Sundberg, Ph.D., BCBA
Patrick McGreevy, Ph.D., P.A. and Associates
PEACH – Parents for the early intervention of Autism
ABA for Professionals – Compiled by the ABA4ALL community as part of the pressure group established to promote knowledge about ABA to professionals working in the fields of both education and health and welfare with the aim of pressurising the authorities into recognising the evidence based data on the effectiveness of ABA.
Examples of ABA/VB schools (in England)
Further Useful Links
Howard, J. S., et al., (2005) A comparison of intensive behaviour analytic and eclectic treatment for young children with autism, Research in Developmental Disabilities, 26, 359–38
This comparison controlled study of ABA versus eclectic education showed that the ABA treatment group scored significantly higher scores as compared to two comparison groups on all measures, including IQ and language functioning.
Myers SM and Johnson CP. (2007), American Academy of Paediatrics: Clinical Report on Management of Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders, 29 October 2007.
This report by the American Academy of Paediatrics emphasised the importance of early, intensive intervention in ASD.
Dawson et al (2009) ‘Randomized, Controlled Trial of an Intervention for Toddlers with Autism’, Paediatrics online, 30 November 2009.
This paper, from the American psychologist Geraldine Dawson, was the first randomised controlled trial to demonstrate the efficacy of a comprehensive developmental behavioural intervention for toddlers with ASD, and underscored the importance of early detection and intervention.
Eikeseth, S (2009) Outcome of comprehensive psycho-educational interventions for young children with autism. Research Developmental Disabilities 30 (1): 158–78
This paper compared different early interventions for children with autism and found ABA to demonstrably better established as an efficacious intervention than alternative methods such as TEACCH.
Eldevik et al (2009) ‘Meta-analysis of Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention for Children with Autism’, Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (online), May 2009, 38 (3)
A large meta-analysis of thirty-four studies which supported the clinical view that “Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention should be an intervention of choice for children with autism”.
Makrygianni MK and Reed P (2010) ‘A Meta-analytic Review of the Effectiveness of Behavioural Early Intervention Programmes for Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder’, Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, October-December 2010, 4(4), 577-593
This meta-analysis, from Professor Phil Reed at Swansea University, reviewed fourteen studies and reported that the findings suggested that behavioural programs are effective in improving several developmental aspects in autistic children, in terms of their treatment gains, and also relative to “eclectic” control programs in the same studies.
Virues-Ortega J (2010) ‘Applied Behaviour Analytic Intervention for Autism in Early Childhood: Meta-analysis, Meta-regression and Dose-response Meta-analysis of Multiple Outcomes’, Clin Psychol Rev. June 2010, 30(4): 387-99.
Results in this Spanish meta-analysis concluded that comprehensive ABA intervention leads to (positive) medium to large effects in terms of intellectual functioning, language development, acquisition of daily living skills and social functioning in children with autism.
Grindle et al (2012) ‘Outcomes of a Behavioural Education Model for Children with Autism in a Mainstream School Setting’, Behaviour Modification, May 2012 vol. 36 no. 3: 298-319
This recent paper from Professor Bob Remington and his colleagues at the Southampton University research group reports positively on outcomes for children receiving ABA input in mainstream school setting, with statistically significant effects in favour of the ABA group (compared to a control group without ABA) for adaptive skills, learning and language skills.
US Surgeon-General Endorsement
United States Surgeon General David Satcher, MD, PhD, has endorsed intensive behavioral intervention for individuals with autism. Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General states, “Thirty years of research demonstrated the efficacy of applied behavioral methods in reducing inappropriate behavior and in increasing communication, learning, and appropriate social behavior.”
The report is available on the world wide web at : http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/mentalhealth/chapter3/sec6.html#autism
Additional Organizations that Endorse ABA
The following organizations endorse ABA as a scientifically proven approach for treating children with autism and related disorders:
- American Academy of Neurology American Academy of Family Paediatrics
- American Academy of Paediatrics American Psychological Association
- Autism Society of America National Institute of Mental Health
- National Institute of Child health and Human Development
- American Speech-Language Hearing Association
- Society for Developmental and Behaviour Paediatrics
- American Academy of Occupational Therapy Association
Professor Karola Dillenburger, Queen’s University, Belfast
In an open letter to Professors P.Howlin and S.Baird Professor Karola remarked on their recent study on the poor outcomes for adults with autism in the UK and contrasted this with those in the US where ABA has long been used as the required treatment. She urged her fellow professors to support the use of ABA as the intervention of choice for children with autism in order to prevent such poor outcomes in the future for today’s autistic children. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=678426328901850&id=564321006979050
Professor Richard Hastings, Warwick University
Professor Hastings argues that there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that even a less intensive early behavioural programme can result in significantly better outcomes for children with autism. He also argues very strongly for the need such programmes to be delivered by staff who have had a high level of training and ongoing supervision. http://profhastings.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/can-we-have-early-behavioural.html
Sunday Times, April 2014 – Tough Love
This article explains how ABA works and reports on the progress made by twins who have stared on an ABA programme. It also details the ABA4all campaign led by Jane McReady, calling for the government to make ABA available for all children in need of it.
‘Hassan and his twin brother Husayn suffer from a form of autism so severe that the world holds little meaning for them. Six months ago they had no sense of danger; they would walk into walls, smashing their heads over and over again, as if the walls weren’t there.They’d bite punch and scream..they didn’t seem to recognise (their parents)over any other adults.
But now, thanks to (ABA) ..their father says he is meeting his sons properly for the first time. “When we started this journey we just wanted them to be safe..now I don’t think its unrealistic to expect them to go to a mainstream school.”’
’At around £40,00 pounds a year, a place at an ABA school is initially more expensive than mainstream with one-to-one support (£25,00 per year), but much less than the cost of residential (£150,00-£200,000 a year) where the majority of young autistic adults end up when they’re too big and aggressive to be cared for at home’
Daily Express, July 2014- How a controversial therapy has changed my autistic daughter’s life
This article describes the difference in progress made by two children who initially been given alternative provision following their autism diagnoses and then embarked on ABA programmes. Both made substantially more progress once they were using ABA.
‘Tracy and husband Andrew, 43, a sales manager, got in touch with other parents of children with autism. Over and over again they were told to try applied behaviour analysis (ABA), a therapy which uses a system of rewards to change children’s behaviour and teach them new skills. It is commonly used in America, Australia and Europe but much less so in the UK.
There was just one problem: local authorities in the UK often refuse to fund ABA unless there is concrete proof it is making a difference. Believing that early intervention was crucial, Tracy and Andrew used an inheritance to fund a 30-hour-a-week, six-month course of one-to-one ABA therapy for Freya at a cost of £540 a week.
The first thing Freya’s team did was to focus on changing her anti-social behaviour by improving her communication skills. Freya still does not talk but she has learnt sign language and is starting to sound out letters. She will now sit and play interactive games on the iPad with sister Chloe and even knows how to take turns.
“We are about 30 years behind America where it is used as standard,” says former investment banker Jane McCready whose 11-year-old son Johnny has been using ABA for the past seven years.
Jane is so convinced of the effectiveness of ABA that she has set up a group called ABA4All which is campaigning for the therapy to be available to all children who need it.
In January 120 mothers put in £10 each to crowd-fund a legal opinion on their case for a judicial review of autism treatments provided by the state. They have been told they have a strong case.
“When Johnny was three I was told by a speech and language therapist that he would never talk,” adds Jane. “It was implied that children like Johnny weren’t worth educating.”
Prior to this Johnny had been receiving TEACCH, a type of educational intervention that places emphasis on structured learning by using visual prompts such as picture cards.
It is widely used in this country but proved to be ineffective for Johnny. In contrast, after three weeks on ABA, he was saying his first words and within a month was potty trained.
“A lot of ABA is about teaching the child to imitate. I remember Johnny being pushed higher every time he tried to say the word swing.
“It has cost me about £50,000 for two years until I managed to get state funding but it was worth it,” says Jane, who is also mum to 13-year-old Marina. “Every autistic child should have the same opportunity.”’
Sunday Times Letters page 20 April 2014 Autism Therapy (ABA) top of the class:
Five out of the four letters printed were from parents backing the use of ABA in the education of their autistic children. This would be reflective of an overwhelmingly pro- ABA postbag.
The Verbal Behaviour Approach : How to Teach Children with Autism and Related Disorders by Mary Barbera and Tracy Rasmussen
Let Me Hear Your Voice: A Family’s Triumph over Autism
by Catherine Maurice
Playing, Laughing and Learning with Children on the Autism Spectrum: A Practical Resource of Play Ideas for Parents and Carers
by Julia Moor
Essential for Living
by Patrick McGreevey