All Articles Why ABA Therapy Is Important For Adults With Autism Applied behavior analysis has been a go-to option for the treatment of autism for many years. Given its structured format and 7 dimensions for sustained learning and knowledge, it is a logical, evidence-based educational choice for people on the spectrum, and it works. Most of the focus around the use of this treatment has been for children and teens but applied behavior analysis for adults with autism is effective and practical. The principles of the treatment are useful regardless of one’s age. Ways ABA Therapy Can Help Adults With Autism Adults with autism sometimes need additional support with learning life skills and social navigation. ABA therapy for adults is a great way for this continued learning to occur in a safe setting. There are countless ways this therapy can help people on the spectrum; one of the best aspects of ABA for adults and people of all ages is the flexible use of the techniques across a wide variety of needs. ABA therapy for adults with autism can help with independent living skills, job training, and community involvement efforts, to name a few. Potential Risks For Adults With Autism And How Treatment Can Help Everyone needs support as they are transitioning into adulthood and beyond, it is human nature to need others. For people on the spectrum, transitions can be especially difficult. The risk factors for adults with autism can range from mild to severe, depending on the individual. People on the autism spectrum are at risk for suicide, addiction, and depression. A 2014 study reported that 2 out of 3 adults with autism have contemplated suicide at some point in their lives. Addiction can become an unfortunate result of trying to cope with the challenges of life with autism. Depression, anxiety, and isolation are all common challenges for adults on the spectrum. With additional support, such as the use of ABA therapy for adults with autism, these outcomes can be treated or avoided. Supportive intervention with compassionate, consistent guidance toward solutions can make all the difference for adults on the autism spectrum. Someone who is struggling with social skills can benefit from the use of ABA to learn how to interact with others individually and in groups. If there is an interest in obtaining job skills, ABA can be a great way to learn, practice and connect with community resources to build those skills toward a successful career. Skills such as shopping, dining out and using transportation services are all practical options that ABA can help adults with autism master. The use of practical skills-teaching and coping strategies offers adults with autism a lifeline into adulthood; ABA for adults is a useful treatment that can help people on the spectrum feel less isolated and can improve quality of life dramatically. Learning doesn’t end in adolescence. ABA therapy can (and should) be used for people of any age who would benefit from the evidence-based model. Less isolation and improved life skills often result in greater joy in life for people with autism. A sense of inclusion and belonging is a basic need for all people and ABA can offer skills that help adults with autism attain that life satisfaction. Unfortunately, adults with autism are often not given the level of support needed to live a satisfying life. The need for support goes beyond adolescence. Statistics show that 80-85% of adults with autism are unemployed or under-employed and one in three people with autism has co-occurring intellectual disabilities. Because of these findings, it is crucial to offer the necessary support to adults with autism. Learn More About The Scientific Findings Of ABA For Adults The scientific findings of ABA for adults with autism indicate that the treatment strategies are highly effective. The use of tracking data and using constant feedback to guide outcomes makes this model a concrete treatment that shows results quickly. When people begin to see their progress, and family and friends observe the benefits, it becomes clear how much value ABA therapy for adults with autism can offer. Some of the key scientific elements of the treatment include: Discrete trial training Chaining, prompting Shaping and fading Task analysis Reinforcement Incidental and naturalistic teaching strategies Visual supports and prompting Schedules and time delay Modeling and video modeling Social narratives Each person who participates in an ABA program through the Adult Autism Center has an individual plan that is developed around their unique strengths and needs. The Adult Autism Center prides itself on a person-first, strengths-based approach. Adults with autism can lead happy, satisfying lives with the support and compassion of others who understand their needs. The Adult Autism Center forms a partnership with those who enter the program and their support team of family and friends. The staff is highly trained, competent ABA practitioners who have vast experience in working with adults with autism. The primary goal for people working in the ABA program is consistent results that are relevant to individual needs. The Adult Autism Center values the integrity of people who enter the program. The treatment people receive at the Center extends beyond just skill-building and training; the connections that are made are lasting and make a difference in the lives of people who participate. Learn More About Our Programs Julia Hood, Ph.D., LP, BCBA-D, NCSPJulia Hood, Ph.D., BCBA-D is the Director of the Adult Autism Center of Lifetime Learning, the first center in Utah to provide individualized services for autistic adults. Here, she uses her rich background in psychology to empower clients. Julia has guided the Carmen B. Pingree Center, the center for assisting kids and adolescence, through critical stages of growth, including developing its architectural layout and clinical programs. Under her leadership, the center has also established local partnerships that allow clients to contribute to society. In the future, Julia envisions building more adult autism centers, as well as providing group home residential services. Julia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Westminster College, and a Masters and Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Utah.