Before we start, let’s address a few things. One, we understand that ABA may be a controversial concept among families and autism. However, it is a part of our life, so we want to ensure we talk about it so others can make decisions based on other families opinions and experiences. Knowing how it affects other families can be a vital database of information.
What is ABA - Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a therapy based on the science of learning and behavior.
What Is Backsliding - the action of relapsing into bad ways or error.
ABA Prior To Moving
Before executing military orders to Kingsport Tennessee, Carter was receiving ABA therapy in Chesapeake. Mr. Brandon was epic, great at what he does. He was part of our family, the kids loved him, and almost every week day was spent between the kids and Mr. B.
When I deployed to the Horn of Africa, Mr. Brandon was a huge part of the family’s life. He helped out with the kids, went to the pool with them, all while keeping Carter on his toes and ensuring his behaviors were in check.
We have had many therapists in our day, with certain aspects that we viewed as important. For instance, if going for a walk around the neighborhood, would they jump in front of danger to save Carter or would they freeze and watch him get deeper into trouble? Would they take the easy route because it would create more conflict, or would they push Carter to experience more behaviors and more society interaction?
It got to the point that Carter was doing great, gaining more ground every day, having less behavioral problems every week. Everyone was happy, Carter was enjoying going places and being able to do more things, and he even was waiting in line at parks and places without having many issues.
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Then we received orders, conducted our military move and became closer to family. At this point there was a pretty big waiting list for ABA therapy in Tennessee, so we decided to take a break for a while. While we loved Mr. Brandon, it’s difficult to have someone coming to your house every day and scheduling everything around that. At one point, Kelli and Carter we going through 24 hours of therapy within the five day work week.
- Roughly 60 available hours a week if Carter wakes up at 8:00 AM and gets ready for bed at 8:00 PM.
- 20 hours are used for Homeschooling (with two meals during that period) This leaves 40 hours.
- Between all therapies, this adds up to 24 hours (ABA | Physical Therapy | Occupational Therapy | Speech Therapy | Group Therapy) This leaves 16 hours, or about 3 hours and 20 minutes per day.
- Between dinner, extra curricular activities and any school work that didn’t get finished in the morning, this leaves very little time for much else.
We were looking forward to this break in ABA, wondering how it would effect Carter overall. At this point, almost four months in, we have come to our conclusion.
We have noticed some of the old behaviors starting to resurface. Getting angry towards his technology, throwing fits when he doesn’t get his way, mad if his restaurant doesn’t get picked, getting angry at the other therapists, not liking his school, etc.
However, it’s important to really speak our minds here, especially to y’all. Is this different than any other kid? He may be a bit more aggressive towards certain things that isn’t part of his normal routine. For instance, Buffalo Wild Wings doesn’t do their iPads anymore and boy, he was pissed. On the other hand, I have seen plenty of kids upset about their video games too. I have also seen kids throw fits about doing school as well, so some of these things seem natural to me.
The biggest things for us is him getting mad at his therapists and throwing himself on the ground. Sooner than later Carter is going to be a teenager weighing 140 pounds and this could get dangerous, if we haven’t reached that point yet. ABA could possibly help guide that behavior, but it may not either. So is this backsliding that is caused from a change in atmosphere, with Carter needing to adjust to his new routine? Can these behaviors be defined as growing pains within Tennessee? We are not sure yet, but we are interested in finding out what the outcome will be. Is Carter destined to need ABA forever, who knows? We would like to think no, that this will subside once he becomes accustomed to the new environment. So, like they alwasy say, time will tell.
We will let you know in six months, so go ahead and subscribe below if you don’t already so you won’t miss thr outcome. (See what I did there)