Effectiveness of Behavioral Therapy for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Effectiveness of Behavioral Therapy for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Student ID

Governors State University

Dr. Mercer

Thinking & Writing in Psychology

Fall 2021














Effectiveness of Behavioral Therapy for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum disorder is a disability that affects many people in the world around us today. Autism Spectrum Disorder is something we will always continue to see and almost everyone knows at least one person with Autism Spectrum Disorder. An individual with Autism Spectrum disorder can face many challenges throughout their lifetime. Some of these challenges may include but are not limited to having difficulty with communication and social skills (interacting with others), how they behave and how they learn. Every individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder is completely different and may need more help in other areas. Some individuals on the spectrum may be very high functioning and others may not be able to do a lot without the assistance of others. Although there is no cure for Autism Spectrum Disorder, there is a lot of research that proves early intervention and treatment can improve how an individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder develops. Not only can treatment improve how and individual on the spectrum develops but treatment may also improve the quality of their life. Although there are many types of treatments one with Autism Spectrum Disorder can receive such as speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy, one form of treatment that many individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder receive is Behavioral Therapy. Behavioral Therapy may not be discussed nearly as much but it is proven to be very beneficial, especially when it begins at an early age. There are many different types of behavioral therapy with their own benefits and effectiveness.

Understanding Behavioral Therapy and The Different Types

Behavioral Therapy is a type of therapy that uses many different types, methods and techniques in order to change maladaptive behaviors. For example, some children with Autism Spectrum Disorder are nonverbal. When a child is nonverbal and is in pain or trying to communicate something, they can become frustrated or possibly even physically aggressive. Behavioral Therapy would teach this child more appropriate behaviors to engage in rather than becoming frustrated or aggressive. These alternate behaviors may include different coping strategies such as deep breathes or counting down from five. However, there are endless scenarios. The great thing about Behavioral Therapy is that each individual receiving it will have their own individualized plan tailored to meet their needs and help them best succeed. Something that is important to understand about behavioral therapy is that there are several types of behavioral therapy out there that are used to treat Autism Spectrum Disorder. One type that is commonly seen, taught and used is known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Many kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder have other disorders as well, so it is important that there are types of Behavioral Therapy that can touch on those as well. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is great for individuals who struggle with anxiety and stress on top of Autism Spectrum Disorder. What Acceptance and Commitment Therapy does is have the individual uses mindfulness and behavioral change strategies. Acceptance Commitment therapy is a way to focus on one’s values rather than pain in your life (Guercio, 2021). Another type of approach commonly used is a mindfulness bases approach. The mindfulness approach allows individuals to use mindfulness techniques such as mindfulness meditation as a replacement behavior to negative behaviors or responses (Guercio, 2021). With children with Autism Spectrum Disorder this is a good method to have them focus on something else when they become upset or engage in any negative behaviors.








Guercio, J. M. (2021). The importance of a deeper knowledge of the history and theoretical foundations of behaviorism and behavior therapy: Part 3–1986–2021. Behavior Analysis: Research and Practice. https://doi.org/10.1037/bar0000226


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