April 1 marks the beginning of National Autism Awareness Month. So, we’re taking a look at one of the current tools and technologies providers and users can leverage to help individuals living with autism meet their goals, whatever those may be.
There has been a steady rise in autism rates throughout the past several decades, as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates a 15% increase in autism prevalence nationally. While this could be due to a variety of reasons, the demand for services is increasing nonetheless. As with most care communities, we place much emphasis on electronic health records (EHRs) at the point of care as a critical tool, but there is often lack of attention surrounding the solutions that are needed for the caregiver. Whether it be a parent, guardian or clinician, the caregiver serving someone with any form of developmental services need access to better resources and technology in order to help that individual progress to the best to his or her ability.
Useful tools caregivers and clients can leverage emphasize behavior tracking and positive reinforcement. While caregivers assisting individuals with autism can benefit greatly from behavior tracking-based tools and applications, they can be used for any kind of skill building or behavioral modification. One example is the Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Application. The ABA app was designed and created by Netsmart to provide caregivers a tool to easily track and observe behaviors. Based on the philosophy of “not one size fits all”, the ABA app activities are specific to the individual learner. Activities are defined to align with the individual learner’s care plan and to assist the learner to meet their life goals to become more independent. An individual with autism has the same goals as any child and that is to learn basic language, self-care and societal skills.
The ABA application was built based off the concept of skill building, and it allows users to document these behaviors easily and then use the information to track successes and areas for advancement. The tracked analytics can show the caregiver and the individual what’s working and what’s not through the use of positive reinforcement. There are a lot of basic skills and routines we complete every day without hesitation, however for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD), these daily tasks aren’t always so simple. The ABA app helps build a variety of skills, whether those be behavioral, social or personal that help the user prepare for tomorrow.
For an individual with autism, the ABA app helps build certain life and behavioral skills, meaning they are able to communicate and perform daily tasks to the best of their abilities. This is especially beneficial for children with autism, as early intervention is an important step in facilitating proper care. The sooner the child receives a diagnosis and professional guidance, the better chances positive outcomes and learned behavior will ensue. Tracking applications such as ABA are not only an asset for any I/DD caregiver, but they act as a vault that contains all of the relevant data. By analyzing the tracked metrics, caregivers can adjust the care plan and show progress as the individual continues toward his or her goals.
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