[Research Survey] PRT vs. ABA Therapy: Which is better for Autism?

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semistu
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:40 am

[Research Survey] PRT vs. ABA Therapy: Which is better for Autism?

Postby semistu » Sat Mar 25, 2017 12:03 pm

Hello!
I am a high school currently taking college-leveled courses. I am trying to collect data to use as research in my project. My project is comparing and contrasting PRT and ABA therapy to find which is the most beneficial for autistic children.

The survey will have open-ended questions about your experience with either therapies. I ask for you to please leave out long life stories and keep answers short and concise. This is not to say those experiences are invalid, just please keep them short, straight to the point. This is to help me go through the answers quicker so I can compile my research easier and faster. My target audience is autistic people who have experienced ABA or PRT therapy and their family members. Answers will remain anonymous.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3YWH836

The survey is only 10 questions but not all the question are required to be answered, only answer what is applicable to you. You may skip any that are non-applicable. The survey should not take too long, possibly 5-10 minutes at most. This all depends on how long you want your responses to be.

I am incredibly thankful to anyone who has taken my survey. Please also share this survey to help get more responses.
If you have any questions please ask and I will try my best to answer them quickly.

Winnie
Posts: 4227
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2006 2:48 pm

Re: [Research Survey] PRT vs. ABA Therapy: Which is better for Autism?

Postby Winnie » Sun Mar 26, 2017 12:17 am

Hi semistu,

I’m happy to see a high school student interested in autism!

I’m the parent of a young adult with autism, and we used an ABA program (Verbal Behavior) when my son was young. I looked at your survey, and wasn’t sure how to answer the questions.

If your instructor is knowledgeable about autism, he/she will probably flag some significant flaws with the question your survey attempts to answer as well as the desired participants and questions.

First, PRT IS ABA – one of the many applications (or flavors) of Applied Behavioral Analysis used in the autism therapy realm. So the question your survey seeks to answer is like asking “Chocolate Ice Cream vs Ice Cream: Which is better for dessert?”

Second, the question you pose (Which is better for autism?) is impossible to answer with an opinion survey.

Third, people with autism who are old enough to be online and responding in writing to surveys may be many years past their participation in ABA/PRT, and unlikely to remember methodological details of the particular therapy implemented when they were very young/toddlers. My son would not be able to do this -- he is in college now.

And some children/people with autism currently involved with ABA or PRT intervention may not be old enough to be online and/or able to respond in writing to an online survey.

It might help to review the research on the effectiveness of ABA as well as that on PRT specifically, and consider tweaking your survey title and questions a bit. Here are a few places to easily search for existing research/info (may be easier and more direct than going through a high school online library, and also likely to return results that are acceptable to your college instructor as sources/citations):

ERIC (Education Resource Information Center): https://eric.ed.gov/
Pubmed: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
Winnie
"Make it a powerful memory, the happiest you can remember."

semistu
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:40 am

Re: [Research Survey] PRT vs. ABA Therapy: Which is better for Autism?

Postby semistu » Sun Mar 26, 2017 2:57 am

Thank you for your feedback, Winnie.

I should state that my research project is only meant for a grade. The main goal of this project is to teach and provide experience on writing a research paper. My instructor requires the project to contain one type of field research the students have conducted themselves. I thought a survey would be the easiest way to go about it. They are not checking the survey questions but validating that I was able to gain results from it.
The reason why I chose to focus on autism was because my younger sibling is autistic as well. That is where the interest sparked.

First, PRT IS ABA – one of the many applications (or flavors) of Applied Behavioral Analysis used in the autism therapy realm. So the question your survey seeks to answer is like asking “Chocolate Ice Cream vs Ice Cream: Which is better for dessert?”

I'm sorry, but I did not know PRT and ABA were that similar. Unfortunately it's already too late for me to change or modify my topic. I do know that PRT was derived from ABA therapy, but my previous research has suggested that the two were different. To put it simply, ABA was rigid, PRT was naturalistic. That is what I thought and it seemed like it was different enough. I saw them as two different flavors of ice cream.

Second, the question you pose (Which is better for autism?) is impossible to answer with an opinion survey.

Thank you for pointing this out. I realize now that I should change that part because that is not what I am trying to ask in the survey. What I am trying to do is receive answers about PRT and ABA therapy that I can use to make comparisons about myself.

Third, people with autism who are old enough to be online and responding in writing to surveys may be many years past their participation in ABA/PRT, and unlikely to remember methodological details of the particular therapy implemented when they were very young/toddlers. My son would not be able to do this -- he is in college now.

And some children/people with autism currently involved with ABA or PRT intervention may not be old enough to be online and/or able to respond in writing to an online survey.

This was not something I had thought about and considered. I'm sorry for my arrogance in assuming people were able to remember their time in therapy. I'm not looking for any in-depth explanations. I was hoping they could provide some simple answers about their experiences( but I guess it's not simple). For those who are still children, I don't expect them to take the survey but possibly their parents.

It might help to review the research on the effectiveness of ABA as well as that on PRT specifically, and consider tweaking your survey title and questions a bit.

I am not quite sure how I should direct my questions. My original topic idea was to compare PRT and ABA therapy. It makes sense to want information about the two methods that would differentiate them. I assumed making a survey could easily help me gain that kind of information. I may just have a roadblock in my head but I am uncertain as to how reviewing my research might help with tweaking my questions. Reviewing my research may help with my confusion on ABA and PRT as you pointed out.

I've come across both of the sites you have mentioned. Still, thank you for bringing them up and validating them as good places to go for research on my topic.
Again, thank you so much for your feedback. There's so much for me to learn and understand. I can't promise that my survey will be any better after some changes, but I can hope and I can try. It was such a surprise to read that there was so much for me to improve on.

Winnie
Posts: 4227
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2006 2:48 pm

Re: [Research Survey] PRT vs. ABA Therapy: Which is better for Autism?

Postby Winnie » Sun Mar 26, 2017 4:58 pm

semistu wrote:Again, thank you so much for your feedback. There's so much for me to learn and understand. I can't promise that my survey will be any better after some changes, but I can hope and I can try. It was such a surprise to read that there was so much for me to improve on.


Hey, I’m impressed that you are interested in considering critique of your survey!

Figuring out the potential limitations or mistakes in one’s position is how you learn – and that may be the most valuable lesson of the project. If you need the instructor’s approval to tweak something in your survey, explaining that you are learning more about the limitations of your field research as you go might be a good angle to approach any needed changes.

Even people working on a master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation have to return to the drawing board, revise, and redo often – and they are already knowledgeable in their specific field of study.

I think the confusion here may be that you equated ABA with discrete trials (Lovaas? – perhaps older applications). ABA is a broader umbrella that covers a number of behavioral techniques and programs (like PRT, Verbal Behavior, Early Start Denver Model, etc).

Just some suggestions/observations (which may not be very helpful at this stage of the project):

Perhaps if you are [url]unable to change much[/url] about your survey purpose, you could state as “ABA discrete trials” instead of just ABA. If you are [url]able to change a lot[/url] about your overall survey question, changing it to simply “ABA-based programs” (eliminating the PRT comparison) would probably increase the clarity and your response rate considerably.

I would also suggest that you change “Which is better for autism” to something more specific and potentially demonstrable by an opinion survey, like “Parent perceptions of effectiveness.”

Concerning the required responses to survey questions – it would probably be a good idea to avoid open-ended answers as much as possible. These will be more difficult for you to tally and also inject an additional layer of subjectivity and bias (yours) in interpreting the survey results. Something that might be easier for you and increase the response rate would be questions requiring either a yes /no response (for instance, Did you implement an ABA-based program for your child?) or a numerical rating (ex. With 1 being not effective and 5 being extremely effective, how effective would you rate your child’s aba-based program in increasing language skills?). You can always include a box at the end for open-ended comments in general (especially if you need quotes for a paper).

One other suggestion – I don’t know what your research paper focuses on specifically, but if you need more material from expert sources, it might be helpful to interview a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) in your area. These are the licensed professionals with expertise in delivering/directing ABA-based treatment to people with autism, and you may be able to find one to contact in your area by searching on this site:
https://bacb.com/bcba/ (scroll down to “Find a BCBA,” and then enter your zip code in the search)

Good luck with it! I hope you go on to defend a doctoral dissertation in the field of autism research one day!
Winnie
"Make it a powerful memory, the happiest you can remember."

semistu
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:40 am

Re: [Research Survey] PRT vs. ABA Therapy: Which is better for Autism?

Postby semistu » Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:27 pm

One other suggestion – I don’t know what your research paper focuses on specifically, but if you need more material from expert sources, it might be helpful to interview a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) in your area. These are the licensed professionals with expertise in delivering/directing ABA-based treatment to people with autism, and you may be able to find one to contact in your area by searching on this site:
https://bacb.com/bcba/ (scroll down to “Find a BCBA,” and then enter your zip code in the search)


Just the other day I had a discussion with my instructor about my field research. After thinking about it for a bit I might decide to interview a professional. I'm gonna scratch off the idea of a survey because I don't how I would be able to gather a large amount of qualified people to take the survey. I'm not familiar with the online community for autism. I'll definitely have to remember your survey advice though. It could be useful to me in the future if I come across a similar situation of comparing two things.

I didn't know such a site was out there and it's even specifically for certified behavioral analyst, that's great. I would have made the mistake of not being specific enough and end up wasting some time trying to narrow down my searches. I also have access to my brother's therapists, whom I could ask for contact information on certified behavioral analysts they know.

Perhaps if you are [url]unable to change much[/url] about your survey purpose, you could state as “ABA discrete trials” instead of just ABA. If you are [url]able to change a lot[/url] about your overall survey question, changing it to simply “ABA-based programs” (eliminating the PRT comparison) would probably increase the clarity and your response rate considerably.


It seems like the urls you've tried to post failed to show up.
Thank you for clearing up my confusion. I watched a couple of videos on discrete training and Pivotal Response Training which helped me better understand the two. After watching the video about discrete training and reading a bit more about it, I definitely confused ABA with discrete training. I won't misuse the term "ABA" in the future as much knowing that it refers to a broad array of techniques and programs such as the ones you've listed.

I don't see myself being a doctor or a researcher but this project has made me so much more interested in ABA therapy. I enjoyed reading and responding to you, it makes me want to have more discussions about autism. I could really learn a lot and that can seriously help me understand my brother more. I absolutely adore him.
If my first choice of a career doesn't work out, being an Art Therapist is one of the fall backs I'll consider. I like art, but working with kids and people is something I don't have a lot of experience in yet.

Winnie
Posts: 4227
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2006 2:48 pm

Re: [Research Survey] PRT vs. ABA Therapy: Which is better for Autism?

Postby Winnie » Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:53 am

semistu wrote:Just the other day I had a discussion with my instructor about my field research. After thinking about it for a bit I might decide to interview a professional. I'm gonna scratch off the idea of a survey because I don't how I would be able to gather a large amount of qualified people to take the survey.

I think that is sound reasoning on your part regarding locating enough participants -- probably a good call!

semistu wrote:I didn't know such a site was out there and it's even specifically for certified behavioral analyst, that's great. I would have made the mistake of not being specific enough and end up wasting some time trying to narrow down my searches. I also have access to my brother's therapists, whom I could ask for contact information on certified behavioral analysts they know.

Great idea! Asking your brother's therapists might be an even easier way to find a local BCBA.

semistu wrote:It seems like the urls you've tried to post failed to show up.

Oops! Those were supposed to be italics -- I hit the URL button by mistake!

semistu wrote:I don't see myself being a doctor or a researcher but this project has made me so much more interested in ABA therapy. I enjoyed reading and responding to you, it makes me want to have more discussions about autism. I could really learn a lot and that can seriously help me understand my brother more. I absolutely adore him.

I absolutely enjoyed e-talking with you, and I am really impressed with your interest and follow-through. I have no doubt that you will be a success in whatever passion you pursue.

What a lucky guy your brother is to have a sib like you -- feel free to start a discussion about autism anytime. All the best to you. :)
Winnie
"Make it a powerful memory, the happiest you can remember."


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