Research: The Impact of Virtual ABA Therapy on Parental Attitudes and ABA Students’ Learning
Mentor: Tara Mathur
Autism Spectrum Disorder (also known as ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects one’s ability to communicate and interact. This growing, developmental disorder affects 1 in 54 children born in the United States (CDC, 2020) with boys having a 5x higher chance of being affected than girls. Some symptoms include lack of eye contact, not looking at or listening to other people, not looking at things when another person points at them, not wanting to be held or cuddled, and trouble adapting to changes in routine (Mayo Clinic, 2018). One of the most common therapies is Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy, also known as ABA therapy. ABA therapy is the best-established and longest-standing form of therapy (Devita-Raeburn, 2016), which in the past year had to transition to virtual platforms. Using the program Google Forms, a survey was created and executed containing questions about both, virtual ABA therapy and in-person ABA therapy. These questions also ask about the children’s progress in both in certain areas, such as their communication and behavioral skills, and their parents’ personal opinion and preference. 17 participants were gathered from Facebook groups, Twitter pages, and Instagram pages that were all based on ABA therapy. The survey asked several statements in which participants had to answer on a Likert scale, including questions about their children’s progress in ABA therapy as well as the parents’ personal opinion. Most students showed improvement with in-person ABA therapy rather than virtual ABA therapy since most parents agreed that ABA therapy was translated poorly into a virtual setting. Results also show that 64.7% of participants strongly disagreed that virtual ABA therapy was more beneficial than in-person ABA therapy, and 52.9% of participants agreed that virtual ABA therapy required more parental participation, which was disliked by most parents.
About this Scientist:
Arianna Cambeiro is a senior at Yonkers High School who will be attending Cornell University in the fall, majoring in human development. Inspired by her little cousin’s autism diagnosis, she committed herself to researching more about different autistic therapies and the effect that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on these therapies. As a future speech language pathologist, Arianna hopes to help more kids with intellectual disabilities in the future.