Should I take my 7 year old to ABA therapy? ?

Hello, I am not sure if this is the route I should take for my son. If you have experience with ABA please let me know the pros and cons if any. My son is having behavioral issues such as being very disrespectful, Gets very angry when his cousins play around with him takes jokes to serious and gets very defensive, can’t accept when he’s wrong or take accountability for his actions, talks back a lot and it’s to the point where I have actually started getting embarrassed and appalled by his attitude and disrespectfulness. So I started searching online and found ABA. And I am thinking of taking him to the doctor in which he can deem is necessary and refer him to ABA. But I am worried if there’s and cons to this? Or if I should hold off? I just want support for him. He struggles with ADHD also so I think he lacks patience and gets frustrated also. I am sure he has picked up some of these flaws from me as a mother and I have been working changing myself to be a better parent and watch what I say or what I do but I feel like I need some support for him and don’t think counseling would get through to him or interest him at this time. Please let me know thank you. 

6 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    First thing I'd do with a child like this is have him evaluated for Autism. It's very common for ADHD and Autism to occur together- and if he has both, and both at the same time, then that's part of what is happening with his behavior.

  • 2 months ago

    Maybe he just needs the board of education applied to the seat of learning (in a consistent, non-abusive manner).

  • 2 months ago

    ADHD is highly over diagnosed.  It is even worse when a person is autistic.....usually the 'hyper' or inattention is due to the autism itself, not ADHD.  Obviously there is something going on with your son, maybe it is ADHD, and yes autism needs to be ruled out, maybe it is something else altogether...the label doesn't matter much, you deal with the symptoms, not the label.

    That is not the primary focus of ABA, although it can be used.  There are ABA behavior plans where he is rewarded for appropriate behavior..but you can do behavior modification without ABA.  ABA is primarily used to teach skills to people with autism.

    He should be in therapy with a mental health counselor for his issues.  Sounds like you also need parenting classes.

    Good ABA is not abusive, but too often it is over controlled by the therapist with rigid goals and not focused on the childs needs and wants.

  • 2 months ago

    I don't know what ABA is. But I can tell you that 7 is a tough age. If you read a book like Gesell and Ilg, where they describe the behaviors of a 7 year old, you might find that your son is not so unusual. What do you do when he's disrespectful? Arguing with him about it only reinforces it. With my daughter, the most successful approach when she was disrespectful to me (eyerolling, "Oh, mother!") was to refuse to respond to her in any way until she addressed me in a normal tone of voice. I just went on about what I was doing. What kids can't stand is being ignored. With his cousins, it sounds like it may be overwhelming for him. I would limit his contact, and distract all of them with an activity when they start getting on each other's nerves. No 7 year old responds perfectly or has perfect control over their emotions, or takes responsibility in the way you want him to. Lighten up. 

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  • 2 months ago

    His behaviors are part of that ADHD; I think I would start with educating yourself on what ADHD really means and how that's impacting him. ABA is the go-to therapy for children on the autism spectrum and while many people believe that ABA is just the best ever, there are times when it doesn't "work". I worked with special needs children for years, using ABA curriculum and I also parent a 10 year old boy who has features of autism along with ADHD and bipolar disorder. So, educate yourself and get him into counseling with a play therapist and consider parent-child therapy models as well that can teach you to respond to him in more effective ways. Often there are really simple ways we can change our children's environment; along with teaching them skills for emotional regulation. For instance, you said he gets angry and defensive when his cousins "play around with him" and he "takes jokes too seriously"... okay, you know this about your child and he's not the only person in the world to have a hard time with what is really other people being disrespectful to him and requiring that he change his brain chemistry to fit their need to be jerks and get reactions from him. You need to be his advocate and stop that behavior from other people. If they like to joke around, maybe you offer all the kids a joke book with kid-appropriate jokes so your son can be part of the jokes. You have to teach accountability and how to solve problems respectfully, kids don't come out knowing these things. That means catching yourself when you need to be accountable and model that, "I need to apologize to you for not telling your cousins to stop messing with you, that wasn't okay," or, "My feelings are really hurt by the way you are talking to me. It's okay to disagree (or be angry/frustrated/sad/etc), it's not okay to be disrespectful." Teach him about emotions and how to identify and then manage his emotions. A lot of schools use the Zones of Regulation... so four colors: red, yellow, blue, green. Red is "out of control" emotions, anger or extreme excitement or devastation that you need help to get through. Yellow is a "warning" zone, where you are starting to get frustrated, scared, anxious, etc. Blue is tired, sad, lonely, etc. Green is happy, ready to learn, calm, safe, etc. So in each zone you talk about the emotions that could be in that zone, how your body might feel (hot and flushed, shaky, tummy hurts, want to run away, relaxed, etc) and what you can do to take care of yourself in each zone---- so green zone you'd want to maintain, blue zone to energize a bit (jumping jacks, hugs, nap, cold drink), yellow zone and red zone de-escalating activities (exercising, using sensory materials like putty or slime, smelling a favorite smell, having a snack, hugs, time with an adult, etc). I guess what I'm trying to get at is that no, you don't need to run directly toward ABA therapy if you haven't done any other interventions... like seeing his doctor for a medical work up, making sure he's getting the right nutrients, tracking sleeping and eating patterns, play therapy, making some changes... there's lots to do before ABA. 

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    ABA is a very abusive therapy. It's controversial for a reason, and as a person with autism myself it sounds like hell. I would never put another person through that.

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