What is Autism?

Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder is a group of complex developmental disorders characterized by impairments in communication and social relatedness, and restricted and/or repetitive patterns of behavior. The disorder typically emerges during a child’s first three years of life; however, some children with autism develop normally and then regress. Autism has a strong genetic component, though research on the exact link between genes and the disability is still inconclusive. 

What is known is that it affects the way the brain processes information, making it hard for children with autism to understand and produce language as well as interpret social cues and other nonverbal behavior. These challenges often present significant obstacles to learning and necessitate that children with autism receive individualized education and care.

1 in 59 children are diagnosed with autism and no two people with autism are alike.

Boys are almost five times more likely to be diagnosed with autism as girls.

Autism can vary from mild to severe depending on the impact of the disability on an individual’s language and social interactions.

The prevalence of autism is the same across racial, ethnic, and socio-economic lines.

What is ABA?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an evidence-based science that utilizes the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behavior in meaningful ways. ABA programming is comprehensive and highly individualized to each student, with a focus on increasing skills that allow for as much independence as possible, and on reducing any challenging or interfering behavior. ABA has long been considered the most effective and scientifically validated approach for teaching individuals with autism (Green, 2005; Smith, 1996; New York State Department of Health, 1999; United States Surgeon General, 1999).

In fact, the United States Surgeon General (1999) concluded, “Thirty years of research demonstrated the efficacy of applied behavioral methods in reducing inappropriate behavior and in increasing communication, learning and appropriate social behavior.” All NYC Autism Charter School staff are trained in the principles of ABA and provide 30 hours of intensive ABA instruction to students weekly.

Further information about the field of Applied Behavior Analysis can be found here: