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Welcome to California Psychcare

What is Autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or simply autism, is a general term for a group of complex brain development disorders. The range of disorders are characterized by difficulties with social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication problems and repetitive behaviors, to varying degrees. Autism spectrum disorder can also be associated with physical health issues, like sleep disturbances. Since May 2013, all autism disorders have been merged under one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. This includes previously separate disorders like childhood disintegrative disorder and Asperger syndrome.

What Causes Autism?

Researchers and scientists believe that there is no one common cause of autism. However, autism does appear to have its roots in very early brain development. Despite being present from birth, most signs and symptoms of autism tend to emerge between ages 2 and 3. Over the last few years, scientists and researchers have identified a number of rare gene mutations that are associated with autism. A small number of these mutations are sufficient enough to cause autism by themselves. However, most cases of autistic disorderseem to be related to a combination of autism risk genes and the environmental factors that influence early brain development.

What is Applied Behavior Analysis?

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the process of applying interventions systematically that are based upon the principles of Behavior Analysis and learning theory and meant to improve socially significant behaviors in those with autism, developmental, typically developing individuals, and/or community/culture. Applied behavior analysis focuses on a range of principles that help explain how learning takes place. These principles include things like positive reinforcement. When a behavior is followed by a reward, the behavior is more likely to be repeated in the future because of the positive association.

These various techniques can be used in structured situations, like in a classroom or "everyday" situations like family dinnertime, and involve one-on-one interaction between the behavior analyst, caregivers, and the child. The field of applied behavior analysis has developed a range of techniques for increasing useful behaviors while also reducing those that could cause harm or interfere with the learning process. This will, in turn, bring about a meaningful and positive change in behavior.

Behavior therapy is widely recognized as a very safe and effective treatment for those with autism. Many state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Surgeon General, have endorsed the use of applied behavior analysis. A dramatic increase in the use of behavior therapy has been shown to help those living with autism to have a happy and productive life.

Are There Benefits to Using Applied Behavior Analysis?

Applied behavior analysis offers a range of benefits that are backed up by research. Many peer-reviewed studies have examined the potential and known benefits of applied behavior analysis techniques with comprehensive and early intervention programs for children with autism, revealing that children who participate can learn and practice skills in structured and unstructured situations.

Some of the great benefits applied behavior analysis offers include:

  • Early intervention

  • Parental involvement and education

  • One-on-one teaching

  • Individualized approach

  • Reduction in interfering behaviors

  • On-going evaluation

  • Adult living skills/Adaptive living skills

  • Increase in Educational Performance

Other studies support this conclusion and show that many children with autism do experience significant improvements in their learning, reasoning, understanding and communication when they participate in quality applied behavior analysis programs.

What is an Applied Behavior Analysis Program Like?

Applied behavior analysis programs may consists of a range from 10 up to 40 hours per week of intensive one-on-one teaching. The programs duration would be based on the families and child needs and may vary depending on the number of areas and goals that need to be addressed and generalized. A Behavior Analyst develops an individualized program and instructs interventionists on the methods. Teaching can be done by professionals, family members or other caregivers who are guided by the expert consultant. The teaching will usually begin in the child's home, but can also begin within the community, school or center based. As the child improves over time, the lessons are shifted to parent education and providing parents and caregivers resources, training, and management strategies.

It is important to note that applied behavior analysis relies on quantified data that help drive the decisions of the practitioners to analyze improvement over time and progress of the child. Precise data is taken and used to identify needs, measure progress and make adjustments to the learning plan.

Is Applied Behavior Analysis Harmful?

No! Applied behavior analysis is not harmful to the child. Most reputable applied behavior anaylsis programs use positive reinforcement, as opposed to punishment, to help children reinforce the learning of desirable behaviors. In fact, many children enjoy applied behavior analysis therapy because they enjoy the positive reinforcement they receive from it.

Where Can I Find Help?

California Psychare offers in-home assessments and treatments through a network of professionals that visit your home and provide therapy sessions. We provide help in the following locations:

  • Aliso Viejo

  • Anaheim

  • Brea

  • Buena Park

  • Costa Mesa

  • Cypress

  • Dana Point

  • Fountain Valley

  • Fullerton

  • Garden Grove

  • Huntington Beach

  • Irvine

  • La Habra

  • La Palma

  • Laguna Beach

  • Laguna Hills

  • Laguna Niguel

  • Laguna Woods

  • Lake Forest

  • Los Alamitos

  • Mission Viejo

  • Newport Beach

  • Orange

  • Placentia

  • Santa Ana

  • Seal Beach

  • Stanton

  • Tustin

  • Villa Park

  • Westminster

  • Yorba Linda

  • Rancho Santa Margarita

  • San Clemente

  • San Juan Capistrano

We also accept the following insurance plans:

  • Cigna

  • Magellan

  • Blue Shield

  • Blue Cross

  • Aetna

  • Tricare

  • CalOptima

  • Molina Health Care

  • Care 1st

  • LA Care

  • Inland Empire Health Plan

  • Value Options

  • MultiPlan

  • United Health Care

  • Ventura County Health Care Agency

Contact us today to learn more about our services.

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