If you have found our webpage, then you’ve likely received a card such as this one:
We’re glad that you’re here! You are probably wondering, “Why in the world did this person I don’t even know give me this card?”
Well, chances are you were in a public place and may have noticed a parent or caregiver with their child or loved one. You might also have noticed some challenging or odd behavior on the part of the child. Or, perhaps the parent or caregiver was managing the child’s behavior in a way that seemed “odd” or “unusual”.
The purpose of this page is to inform the community about children with disabilities and/or behavior challenges. The child of the parent or caregiver from whom you received the card was most likely with a child that has a disability or developmental delay such as Autism Spectrum Disorder. The child you encountered is also likely receiving ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) treatment in order to manage the child’s challenging behavior.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an empirically validated treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders with an enormous body of research supporting its efficacy in reducing challenging behavior. Sometimes, the actions of the parent or caregiver might seem unusual or “incorrect” from the point of view of a parent or individual that has not been exposed to an individual with developmental disabilities or Autism Spectrum Disorder. Especially in the first few treatment sessions, the behavior may actually become more intense to the point that it appears to be making the behavior “worse”. Please be assured that this is very common and a short-term effect. With consistent treatment, great reductions in the frequency and intensity of challenging behavior can be achieved.
Now, you might be thinking “Why can’t they take care of that in a hospital or clinic setting rather than causing such a disruption in a public place?”. We understand that this type of behavior from a child in a shopping mall or grocery store can be quite disruptive and unsettling. If the child’s behavior could be treated in a solely inpatient setting, almost any parent would choose this option. Unfortunately, effective treatment of challenging behavior doesn’t always generalize naturally from a treatment room to a grocery store or public setting. Sessions within the community are often necessary for effective treatment of challenging behavior. Additionally, it is critical for treatment that the parent and/or caregiver responds follow the treatment plan in EVERY situation. Even breaking the protocol just once can actually cause major setbacks and complications for the child.
We thank you so much for your patience and understanding in this matter. Please know that the parent or caregiver from whom you received this card is doing their absolute best to ensure that their child grows up to be a friendly, happy, well mannered, and productive citizen! As you can imagine, these parents have a lot on their plate as caring for a child with disabilities is a challenging endeavor. Thank doing your part to support these parents and their kiddos by demonstrating patience and kindness!
To learn more about Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), please follow theses links:
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder
What is ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis)
How can I get involved and support families and children with Autism?
What do I do if I suspect my child might have Autism or a related disability?