Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) or Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD)?
The mandatory age to start school in Texas is six years, and children with autism may be eligible to start public school at age three in the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD). There may be several reasons why parents might consider sending their children to school prior to the age of mandatory attendance. All of those reasons warrant careful evaluation and comparison with the benefits of Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy (ABA) to make sure the right choice is made for each child.Are you wondering whether ABA Therapy or Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD) would be better for your child? Consider these factors as you make a decision for your child with autism. Click To Tweet
Social Interaction Differences
Parents may feel that their child needs to be around other children so that they can interact socially with them and develop social skills. However, children with autism may not be motivated to interact with other children or may not know how to interact with other children. They may require more individualized attention and a curriculum that will help them to develop prerequisite skills for social interaction. When evaluating the school setting for purposes of learning social skills, parents may want to assess the curriculum, the student-to-teacher ratio, and the training of the teachers to determine whether their child will be able to learn social skills in that environment.
In ABA, specific social skills may be taught initially in a 1:1 setting. Once the child has learned those skills then they may be paired with another child to continue learning and eventually included in a group of children who can benefit from each other and learn in a group setting. A specific curriculum for children with autism that teaches social skills using ABA principles is utilized. As with any other skill taught using ABA, goals are established, data is collected, and targets are modified and changed as the child learns specific skills. And of course, having fun while learning is always a part of the process.
Many parents want their children to start school as soon as they can so that they can work on academics. However, before they are able to learn academics in a classroom setting, children with autism need to develop foundational skills. Some of those skills include receptive and expressive labeling, matching, functions, sequencing, general knowledge and reasoning, observational learning, and more. Teaching these skills in the 1:1 ratio of the ABA environment allows each child to learn at their own pace and to master the skills before moving into an educational environment with a greater student-to-teacher ratio.
Other Considerations – Behaviors, Eating, and Potty Training
There are other factors that parents may want to consider when deciding between ABA and PPCD. ABA can help your child deal with individual behavior issues that may result in tantrums or aggressiveness. ABA therapists will work one on one with your child to help them be more accepting of change and develop coping skills that will help them to be more successful in the school environment.
Children with autism may sometimes have restricted diets and may only eat specific foods. Again, ABA therapists can work with them 1:1, using positive reinforcement, to help expand the types of food that they enjoy eating. Finally, children with autism may also be delayed in potty training and ABA can help to get them trained and ready to participate in a school environment
As Each Child is Unique, Each Choice is Unique
Each child with autism is unique and determining whether ABA or PPCD might be best will depend upon the parents’ assessment of their child. Make your decision knowing that you are making the best choice with the information that you have. Continue to monitor your child’s progress, regardless of which environment they are in. If you decide that another environment might be better for your child don’t hesitate to make the change to ensure that your child is in the right place.
Is your family considering ABA therapy? Contact our clinic for more information and a free tour!