In July of 1997, I embarked on a new journey, the special field, we labeled as people with disabilities, autistic children and adults, the retarded. We applied political correctness by changing the derogatory, labeling and insulting words to "special needs people". Many of us who have academic backgrounds in psychology and behavioral sciences, are in for the shock of our lives. For example, many knows if not memorized BF Skinners Reinforcement and Conditioning Theories.
But, how many knows how to apply the theories in actual teaching and training of children and adults with special needs like autism ?
This is where the training of staffs or learning/behavior therapist starts. Two popular programs in Autism were led by UCLA under Dr. I Lovaas and the May Institute School for Children with Autism. May Institute have programs in many U.S States. May Institute and Dr. I Lovaas are pioneers in the Applied Behavioral Analysis (for Autism)
The two pioneering organizations developed their programs and intructions by applying the only accepted behavioral treatment to Autism -
The Applied Behavioral Analysis methodology and approach or A.B.A .
The greatest learning I got since 1997 (besides my A.B.A trainings and education) is, that people with special needs are authentically SPECIAL. Special means, most if not all of them sincerely care, and loved people without conditions. You get what you see from them. No pretentions. No hypocrisy. I spent many years in the adult program settings, residences and schools, and the special people that I worked with, are the same people anywhere they go - meaning they do not make adjustments with their caring attitudes, whether openly or in the privacy of their homes. They have great sense of humor and a unique "divine" intelligence that no formal schooling can provide. For example, many of the children and adults I worked with, can remember verbatim formulas, significant dates, and solve difficult word or number puzzles. This is where the early intervention program pioneered by Dr. Lovass and May Institute came into play and impacted the learning and formative years of children with Autism. Most recently many other nonprofit organizations pursued the Autism program because it is financially viable, and mandated by almost 30+ states in the USA. State laws mandate private insurer to provide funding or reimburse nonprofit organizations or individual practitioners for A.B.A. trainings of children and adults with autism.
I salute the UCLA under Dr. Lovaas and the May Institute. Thank You for your pioneering work
As of writing time, there is no conclusive findings about the origin/cause of Autism.