Autism, also referred to as autistic spectrum disorder, is a mysterious bio-neurological disorder. Initially described almost 60 years ago by Leo Kanner, this complex condition occurs in approximately 1 out of every 2,000 children (4 times more likely in boys) and lasts throughout an individual's lifetime. Autism is most often diagnosed before the age of three. .
This disability impacts the brain in the areas of social interaction, communication skills, and cognitive function. Although the impacts on the brain are socially most severe, also, there are physical attributes that can go a long with autism such as: allergies, asthma, epilepsy, digestive disorders, sensory integration disorders, sleeping disorders, and a few other symptoms. Within the past 60 years there have been numerous treatments and theories to cure Autism. The treatments range from systematic to nurturing from physical to chemical, and yet there is still no treatment that has proven it's self to be completely effective.
Lovaas' approaches often referred to as Discrete Trial, Intensive Behavior Intervention, and Applied Behavior Analysis "are some of the best known and most widely used in the field (Autism Society of America, 2001). His approach focuses on the development of attention, imitation, language, academic, and self-help skills. Lovaas' system uses a one-to-one therapist to child ratio and the antecedent-behavior-consequence (ABC) model. An antecedent is a request for the child to perform an action. A behavior looks for a response from the child, which may be categorized as a successful performance, noncompliance, or no response, and a consequence, which is the reaction from the therapist, which ranges from strong positive reinforcement to a strong negative response, "No!- .
In Lovaas' earliest work, the "no- consequence included yelling and physical management of the child. This became a practice that was not morally acceptable for most people.