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Autism: Preventing Hospitalization with ABA

A recent study comparing 218 psychiatrically hospitalized individuals with autism with 255 individuals also with autism who were not hospitalized, ages 4-20, showed five predictors of hospitalization, (Giulia Righi, Jill Benevides, Carla Mazefsky, Matthew Siegel, Stephen J. Sheinkoph, and Eric M. Morrow, "Predictors of Inpatient Psychiatric Hospitalization for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder," Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, published online ahead of print, (May 23, 2017), doi:10.1007/s10803-017-3154-9). These include adaptive functioning, autism spectrum disorder symptom severity, presence of a mood disorder, sleep problems, and living with a single caregiver, which is indicative of limited support. Adaptive functioning, autism symptoms, mood instability and sleep problems can all be improved with ABA. For example, a well done stimulus preference assessment to determine effective positive reinforcers, learning to wait for reinforcement with gradual time increases, or learning to use functional communication tokens to request breaks can all improve mood. Parent training is supportive as well. This research shows among other reasons why effective ABA is cost effective.