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ABA vs. DIR

June 25, 2017: written by Post 21 Club

A tale of two Methodologies-

ABA: Since the 1970’s, families with Autism have scratched and clawed their way out of emotional devastation (and worse) toward something more palatable, to varying degrees, thanks to an approach stemming from the work of Dr. Ivar Lovaas, from that era. That approach is Applied Behavioral Analysis, or “ABA”.

Simplistically, ABA instructs that through a discrete trials “rewards” system, individuals with Autism can be “taught” or “trained” to subsist in the real world of their parents, and everyone around them. ABA further teaches that although the Autism Spectrum is wide, with a great variety of different manifestations of the disorder, the “cure” is the same: discrete trials with a “rewards” system. The system essentially impacts the wide variety of individuals on the Autism Spectrum in the same way, leading to relatively predictable results.

General complaints about ABA revolve around the observation that individuals tend to become “robotic”, although it is generally accepted to produce noticeable results. Another issue is that it requires “1-on-1” involvement for numerous hours/day, which is inescapably expensive.

DIR ®: The Developmental, Individual-differences, & Relationship-based model, or “DIR”, is an approach which is alternative to ABA. Paraphrased from the icdl website with founder Dr. Stanley Greenspan: DIR is a way to understand individuals with Autism, and each other, that builds connections, understanding, love, communication, and engagement. Through this approach, the true potential of each person can be discovered.

DIR incorporates a proprietary term called “Floortime”, which puts the principles found in DIR into practice. Combined with a special Strengths Assessment series of interviews with the family of an individual with Autism, administered by Joydew, LLC of New Jersey (www.joydew.com), the chances of discovering the internal strengths, aptitudes, and future communications and career preferences are increased.

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Between these two methodologies, A.B.A. arguably has received more attention in US communities than D.I.R. over the past 30 years, and Bergen County is no exception.  But D.I.R. is set to create more of a presence in 2017 in Bergen County, thanks to the efforts of Joydew, LLC, which combines D.I.R. with additional tools, a Strengths Assessment analysis interview tool, and total communications.  In collaboration with Post 21 Club, Joydew has been making inroads into Bergen County and seeks to have a center open in the latter half of the year.

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