Should i seek therapy quiz

Do I Need Therapy? Take Our Quiz

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Is therapy worth your time? If you feel overwhelmed with stress, anxiety, and sadness on a regular basis, professional counseling may be a good source of help. Therapy isn't only for times of crisis or severe distress.

Kathleen Smith, PhD, LPC

Life isn’t always difficult, but every life has challenging times. Everyday stresses from relationships, work, and/or school can pile up, leaving you feeling overwhelmed, burned out, distressed, stuck, fill in the blank.

Therapy isn’t only for people diagnosed with mental illnesses. Everyone can benefit from therapy. Seeking professional input can be especially helpful when our usual coping strategies (talking to friends, reading, or doing research online) don’t make us feel better.

Think of it as emotional self-care. Therapy can be a time and space where you feel supported and heard. Therapists are trained to listen carefully and teach you new ways to tackle problems (old and new), manage symptoms, and build healthy habits for dealing with life’s curveballs.

Answer the questions below to see if therapy might be a good next step for you.

Who Is This Quiz For?

Below is a list of questions that relate to life experiences common among people who may need to seek help from a therapist. Please read each question carefully, and indicate how often you have experienced these symptoms or challenges recently.

How Accurate Is It?

This quiz is NOT a diagnostic tool. Mental health disorders can only be diagnosed by a licensed mental health provider or doctor.

Psycom believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns aren’t legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.

Your privacy is important to us. All results are completely anonymous.

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Therapy FAQs

How do you know if you should talk to a therapist?

If you feel overwhelmed or burned out by life’s stressors, or are unsure how to move toward a important goal, then therapy can be useful for you. You don’t have to be experiencing particular mental health challenges or symptoms to benefit from therapy.

Therapy is a neutral, calm space to help you do your best thinking. A therapist isn’t going to tell you what you should do. They simply provide a framework and tools for taking on challenges, and a supportive, non-judgmental environment to do your best thinking.

If you’re thinking about working with a therapist, don’t hesitate to reach out to someone. Many professionals offer free consultations where they can answer all your questions about their work, before you commit to seeing someone regularly.

How do I know if therapy will work for me?

Therapy can be beneficial to anyone who is experiencing distress, facing a challenge, or wanting to work on themselves. However, do not be discouraged if the first therapist you contact doesn’t feel like a good match for you. Ask a potential therapist if they’ve worked with people with similar challenges as yourself, and what the work you’d do together would look like. Ask them how much therapy costs, and if your insurance will cover the sessions.

Therapy works best when a person comes to a session with specific concerns or challenges they want to think about. Writing down your thoughts and observations between sessions and completing any “homework” given to you will help you get the most out of your time with your therapist. Also, if you have any concerns when working with your therapist, don’t hesitate to share them. Regular feedback helps your therapist do their best work, and it builds trust in the relationship.

How often should you see a therapist?

When you begin to see a therapist, together you will decide how often you should meet. People in crisis may want to meet more frequently to start, while others feel comfortable meeting with their therapist weekly, every other week, or even monthly.

Frequency may depend on the theory and techniques being used. For example, a therapist using brief-solution focused therapy may recommend you come in weekly for 6-8 weeks.

While it’s important to hear your therapist’s thinking about frequency, the decision is up to you. You should never be pressured to meet more frequently with your therapist than you’d like.

What’s the difference between a therapist and a counselor?

The word “therapist” is often used as a catchall term to describe someone trained as a mental health professional. A person who is licensed as a mental health counselor, a clinical social worker, a marriage and family therapist, or a psychologist may describe themselves as being a therapist.

A counselor is someone who has licensure in one of the counseling professions, such as mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, alcohol and drug counseling, or school counseling. Counseling professionals often take a strengths- or solutions-focused approach, helping individuals or groups of individuals to meet their personal goals.

In addition to asking about a potential therapist’s licensure, it can help to ask about what theory or theories they use in their practice. For example, a clinical social worker and a counselor both might use cognitive behavioral therapy, making their work more similar than two counselors who use different theories in their work.

How much does therapy cost?

One 2019 report from SimplePractice found that the average cost of therapy in the US ranged between $100 and $200 per session. However, the cost of therapy will vary widely depending on several factors.

Your insurance may cover the cost of therapy, but you may also have a copay. If a therapist does not take your insurance, they may use a sliding scale based on income to make it more affordable. Many non-profits and university clinics may offer low-cost or no-cost counseling for people.

If you reach out to a therapist who is charging more than you can afford, don’t hesitate to ask them if they have a sliding scale or have recommendations for low-cost options in the area. Therapists have an ethical mandate to do good, and they should be willing and able to connect you to the help you need.

If you think you or someone you care about may be experiencing mental health challenges, Psycom strongly recommends that you seek help from a mental health professional in order to receive a proper diagnosis and support. We have compiled a list of resources (some even offer free or low-cost support) where you may be able to find additional help:

  1. American Psychological Association. How Do I Find a Good Therapist? Accessed June 3, 2022.
  2. American Counseling Association. What is professional counseling? Accessed June 3, 2022.
  3. Corcoran J, Pillai V. A review of the research on solution-focused therapy. Br J Soc Work. 2007;39(2):234-242. doi:10.1093/bjsw/bcm098
  4. Lauretta A. How much does therapy cost? Forbes. Published October 19, 2021. Accessed June 1, 2022.

Do I Need Therapy? — Should I See a Therapist Quiz

This online screening is not a diagnostic tool. Only a trained medical professional, such as a doctor or mental health professional, can help you determine the next best steps for you.

We all have experienced moments of stress and anxiety in our lives. Many of us are no strangers to the emotional and mental challenges brought on by problems at work, financial worries, issues in our relationships, or grief over the loss of a loved one.

Sometimes we can handle these challenges on our own or with the help of friends and family members we trust.

But what about when these feelings become so overwhelming that they seem to weigh you down? Who do you turn to then?

Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is a common treatment for a number of mental health conditions, but it can also help with day-to-day challenges and concerns.

Not all psychotherapy is the same, and not all therapists offer the same services in the same way. And, contrary to popular belief, not all therapists have a chaise lounge or couch in their office for you to lie on.

Therapy can be one-on-one, in a group setting, or done as a family. If face-to-face therapy isn’t the best option for you, there are options for online therapy.

There are many therapeutic approaches depending on your unique needs. A few common psychotherapy approaches include:

  • cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • acceptance and commitment therapy
  • dialetical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • psychoanalytic and psychodynamic therapy
  • family therapy
  • interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT)

People seek therapy for many reasons — from needing help dealing with a mental health condition to just needing someone to talk with.

Therapy can be effective for a variety of situations. A 2019 review found that psychotherapy was helpful across several problem areas. The review also suggested that routine psychotherapy was especially helpful for those who had severe distress.

How effective therapy is for you will depend on you, your unique needs, and how much work you do between and during sessions. You can also see a therapist for just a few sessions or longer, depending on your needs.

No matter the topic, there’s no reason to be ashamed of seeking additional help and support. Therapy can offer a safe space for you to talk and just be yourself.

Finding the right therapist can be crucial to your decision on whether therapy is the best option for you and your needs. It can take some time but it will be worth it.

If you’re considering therapy but not sure where to start, you can check out Psych Central’s hub for finding mental health support.

This brief, time-saving questionnaire is designed for anyone who thinks they may benefit from therapy.

Psychotherapy has the ability to benefit everyone.

Anyone can attend therapy to improve or work through any concerns — from improving relationships at home to getting tools to improve focus and concentration.

This test consists of 12 questions that relate to how you’ve felt and behaved during the past month. For each question, try to respond as honestly as possible to get an accurate assessment.

Your responses will help determine whether you may need additional help and professional support for a concerning life issue.

A mental health professional can also help figure out if your issues might be a symptom of a mental health condition and recommend treatment if needed.

This online screening is not a definitive tool. It will not conclusively guarantee that you will benefit from therapy.

However, it can be useful if you’re thinking about therapy and want to determine whether therapy is the right option for you.

Only a trained medical professional, such as a doctor or mental health professional, can help you determine the next best steps for you.

Ten Arguments Against ABA Therapy

Currently, there are several different approaches to the diagnosis and correction of autism, so parents of autistic children and professionals working with them have to make a choice in favor of a particular correction system. This is not easy to do, especially for parents, as they have to navigate the sea of ​​special information on their own in order to understand who and where will provide their child with the most qualified assistance.

One approach is behavioral therapy, and the most popular variant is the ABA program. At least in the last 2-3 years, parents who bring their children to our institute for consultations will certainly ask questions about what ABA therapy is and how useful it will be for their child.

It is my opinion that individual ABA therapy techniques can be used in some cases in autism to develop specific skills. For example, to teach a child to sit at the table while eating, use the potty, and follow the daily routine.

For adolescents and adults with severe autism who did not receive any intervention as a child, the issue of developing simple self-care skills is often relevant as well. Of course, if such a person does not use speech, PECS cards will help him communicate his needs to others. In such "neglected" cases, ABA techniques are necessary for an autistic person in the same way that crutches are needed for a person with serious disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

However, I am categorically against the use of ABA therapy as a universal and the only method of helping children with autism, or as the main, “basic” approach to correcting this developmental disorder. Why? Let's get to the heart of the matter.

“ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) Therapy – Applied Behavior Analysis or Lovaas Method) is a treatment system for autism spectrum disorders pioneered by Dr. Ivar Lovaas in the Department of Psychology at the University of California at 1987 year. The idea of ​​the method is that social behavioral skills can be taught even to children with severe autism through a system of rewards and consequences.” “ABA therapy is an intensive training program based on behavioral technologies and teaching methods”. Such definitions of ABA therapy can be found on the Internet.

Based on these definitions, as a result of ABA therapy, a child can learn certain skills. Moreover, the emphasis is on “social behavioral”. What specifically? If we are talking about a child of preschool age, then, for example, such:

  • make eye contact,
  • imitate basic movements,
  • simulate actions with objects,
  • imitate small and precise movements,
  • imitate pronunciation,
  • execute single commands,
  • recognize familiar people,
  • point to desired items
  • , etc., depending on the program designed for the child by the ABA specialist.

The behavior associated with each skill is divided into blocks - usually separate actions. The performance of each action is practiced using a system of rewards and punishments, and the practiced actions are connected in a chain, and thus a certain skill is formed.

Special attention is paid to the “unwanted behavior” of an autistic child. Each type of such behavior (stereotypes, aggression, etc.) is consistently eliminated or at least reduced, also with the help of a system of rewards and punishments.

ABA experts say that skills development sessions should be intensive, for example, with a young child (under 3 years old) it is suggested that at least 30 hours per week be practiced. So, my arguments “against ABA” .

I understand that it is possible to work out the listed skills and similar ones with the help of the described system of manipulating the child's behavior, and I have no doubts about the reliability of the results obtained by ABA specialists. I absolutely believe that skill development is an essential part of raising both an autistic and normal child. The formation of skills (self-service, social, educational) is an integral part of all existing approaches to the correction of autism. Skills are developed with the help of techniques that are often attributed only to ABA therapy, but which, in fact, have been known and used in pedagogy for a long time: drawing up visual schedules, rewarding for a well and correctly performed action, etc. However, in my opinion, the development of a set of skills is not enough for the development of an autistic child (emotional, intellectual, communicative, verbal, whatever). Without going into philosophical and psychological “wilds”, I will only emphasize the obvious fact that the development of a child involves not only and not so much quantitative as qualitative changes. The accumulation of a number of practiced skills does not automatically mean that the child is developing, and the process of mastering skills does not “start” or “stimulate” child development.

In this regard, we should recall the words of L.S. Vygotsky that development is “a continuous self-conditioning process, and not a puppet controlled by pulling two strings” [6] .

Therefore, if an ABA specialist reports that, as a result of operant training, an autistic child has developed anything other than specific skills (for example, the ability to learn from other people or maintain relationships with them), then this can only be regarded as “artifact”

“An artifact is a result or achievement that seems to exist, based on the efforts made to study it and the methods applied. However, in fact, this is only an apparent state of affairs that does not correspond to reality, ”- from the Russian-English Dictionary of Terms and Definitions of Applied Behavior Analysis English Glossary of Behavior Analytic Terms .pdf

or as a random event that has nothing to do with ABA training. Such results are not incorporated in the technologies of "behavior modification" developed on a behavioral basis (TEACCH, ABA, PECS). Or, to put it more simply, the tool used by the ABA is not suitable for obtaining such results. By gradually developing skills, it is impossible, for example, to teach a child to take the initiative, to empathize (as it is impossible to build a glass vase with a hammer - it is a very unsuitable tool).

A reasonable question arises in this connection: is there such a tool? What to do, what to do with an autistic preschool child in order to get a “positive developmental dynamic”? My colleagues probably know the answer to this question: of course - to play!

Psychologists and teachers who have received education and work in our country are well aware of how important play is for the mental development of a preschooler. Therefore, my further explanations are for parents of autistic children, who have every right not to know that the traditions of Russian psychology and pedagogy were laid down by such prominent scientists as L.S. Vygotsky, D.B. Elkonin, A.V. Zaporozhets, M. .I. Lisina. All of them, investigating the features and identifying the patterns of the mental development of the child, attached great importance to the game. L.S. Vygotsky called play the “leading activity” in preschool age. He said this not because a preschool child devotes more time to play than to other activities, but because it is in the game, according to the scientist, that “the most important mental neoplasms are formed.” That is, it is thanks to the game and within the game that the main changes occur in the psyche and personality of the child. The game allows the child to model and realize events, first of all, of his own life, gives a natural opportunity to understand and master emotions, human relationships. The game provokes the development of imitation, including speech imitation, thus stimulating the development of speech. Playing out unpleasant, frightening events in the plot, but in such a way that “everything ends well”, or, cracking down on scary characters, the child overcomes his fears and becomes more active and bold in real life.

The question is how to involve a child with autism in the game, because this is not an ordinary child who is willing to interact and can join the plot suggested by an adult. How to be? How to make him want to play with an adult, how and what to play with him, so that the game really becomes the engine of his mental development? These questions can, if desired, be answered both in the books of domestic specialists on autism correction [1,3,7] and in the works of foreign authors translated into Russian and published in our country [4].

A child of preschool age should not be constantly, for hours at a time, in a learning situation, not only because in it he does not get what the game gives, but also because, due to age and autism, he does not have a sufficient “resource” of arbitrariness. Both specialists and parents are well aware of the paradoxical manifestation of the abilities of an autistic child. He can be incredibly dexterous and quick-witted in line with his addictions, in search of certain sensory, affective sensations, but becomes completely helpless when he needs to fulfill a request, act according to instructions.

It is clear that the most suitable for the development of a child with autism is a correctional system that takes into account this fact and focuses on the possibilities of involuntary attention, involuntary imitation, involuntary perception and memorization. The obvious “plus” is that all these “involuntary” possibilities in an autistic child are even greater than in an ordinary child! Knowing about such a development resource, is it right to completely ignore it, and only engage in practicing the implementation of instructions?

ABA skill training always means practicing following instructions. When an autistic child, who has not previously fulfilled the requests of his mother (“look at me”, “give me a hand”, etc. ), begins to fulfill them, training according to the ABA program, such a result is undoubtedly impressive for parents. Often they believe that the child has finally “began to understand what is being said to him” (identifying understanding with following instructions).

But what next? Will ABA training help develop volitionality in a child with autism? In the sense that, as a result of ABA training, will an autistic child be able to independently “give out what is required, at the right time and in the right place”? Will he be able to at least adequately respond to the requests of loved ones, to perform simple tasks if they have not been worked out with an ABA trainer? A conscientious ABA specialist will not claim this. That is, what you worked out is what you got, and the rest? The rest will also be “worked out”.

Exit? All the same - game activities, which are initially focused on the possibilities of involuntary attention and behavior. (See literature recommended in paragraph 2)

In play, the child gradually begins to show the traits of volitionality, overcoming obstacles and many of his immediate desires. But in the game, he does this in the name of an even stronger desire to follow the plot, or not to break contact with a partner in the game, or to comply with the rules of the game, in particular, the rules of the role he has taken on. In this regard, the domestic psychological tradition considers the game to be a kind of school for developing the skills of voluntary behavior, the successful “completion” of which allows the child to adequately respond to a number of requirements that arise before him, which do not always coincide with his immediate desires.

First, if a family raising an autistic child practices “correct”, i.e. intensive version of ABA therapy, then there is simply no time and energy left for anything else. Secondly, other activities can increase the mental activity of the child, can help the child to realize what he wants and what he does not want, making his desires and “unwillingnesses” more persistent. This will make it very difficult to work on the ABA program, creating a lot of new "unwanted behaviors" in the child, which will have to be overcome with the help of ABA training. As a result, neither ABA, nor the activities with which they are trying to combine it, will bring the desired result.

I certainly do not deny the need to eliminate certain types of destructive, dangerous behavior of an autistic child. If the child's behavior is dangerous for him or for the people around him (when he runs out onto the roadway, tries to grab a hot kettle or knife, bites, fights, hits his head on the floor) - we react immediately, and we do it right. And if there is a desire to use the techniques of the ABA approach in these situations, I am not against it. If only the child survived, did not get seriously injured and did not cripple other people. But I will say “stop” to ABA methods in situations where there is no direct threat to the life and health of adults and the child himself, and his behavior is “undesirable” only in the sense that it creates some inconvenience for parents or an ABA trainer.

For example, a child who sleeps in the children's room wakes up every night, goes to the parents' bedroom, knocks on the door, cries and screams until they let him in and take him to bed. What does an ABA specialist offer? Ignore this behavior.

Yes, indeed, in a few days "this behavior" will stop. Parents can sleep peacefully. And why the child came every night to the door of the parent's bedroom is not important. More precisely, from the standpoint of the ABA, the only important thing is that he insisted on his own, not taking into account the interests of his parents. It is in this sense that ABA analysts say, “Before you eliminate unwanted behavior, analyze it to understand what benefit the child wants to receive.”

It is not difficult to understand what “benefit” the child was seeking in the described case (to warm up and calm down at the side of the mother). It is more difficult to understand why such behavior, from the point of view of the ABA specialist, should be ignored. Because the “quenching” of such behavior will certainly affect the formation of parent-child attachment and the emotional development of the child.

However, such concepts as “emotional development” and “attachment” are outside the scope of behaviorism. More precisely, beyond the framework of classical behaviorism, on which ABA therapy is based, but not beyond, for example, ethology, a science that also studies behavior (of both humans and animals), but not in laboratory conditions, but in ordinary life.

The book of famous ethologists N. and E. Tinbergen “Autistic children: a new hope for a cure” (N. Tinbergen, E. Tinbergen “Autistic children: new hope for a cure”, 1983), which describes successful, from their point of view

From the point of view of ethologists, any behavior, even the most “pathological”, strange-looking, has a certain adaptive meaning. And, if we talk, for example, about autostimulation, that is, about the behavior of an autistic child aimed at obtaining certain sensory and affective sensations, then it also has important adaptive meanings.

First of all, this is an opportunity to “please yourself”, raise your tone, i.e. the possibility of self-regulation of mental tone in conditions of limited communication, insufficient contact with the environment. Secondly, it is an opportunity to shield oneself, to isolate oneself from external influences, which is very important with such increased vulnerability as in a child with autism. That is, autostimulation is a behavior that is vitally significant for an autistic child, it is his “way of life”.

For ABA therapy, any kind of autostimulation (motor stereotypes, obsessive repetition of certain sounds, words, lining up rows of toys or pencils, etc.) is an “undesirable behavior” that needs to be “extinguished”, forced out of life. But, it is clear that while an autistic child, in principle, has no other ways of self-regulation and self-defense other than autostimulation, it will not be possible to completely “remove” it. Moreover, if you very persistently “extinguish” all types of autostimulation, you can achieve a regression of behavior, skills, the appearance of self-aggression or an increase in the state of “autistic detachment”, that is, a deepening of autism.

It is much more productive to connect to autostimulation, giving it a playful meaning (of course, to those of its types that can be beaten), creating situations of playful interaction. For example, call the rows of cars, cubes or pencils that a child builds a “train”, talk about who and where will go on this train, try to “seat passengers”. Or, sitting next to the child on the couch, sway, like he himself, singing to the beat of the movements: “We are going, we are going, we are going to distant lands.” That is, gradually transform autostimulation into a game situation based not only on sensory pleasure, but also on interaction with an adult. At the beginning of play sessions, joining auto-stimulation is a great way to connect with an autistic child.

You can cope with autostimulation gradually, partially transforming it into a game, and, most importantly, consistently “cultivating” other mechanisms of self-regulation in an autistic child, based on interaction, closeness with another person, and emotional attachment.

So, I am against dividing behavior into “desirable” and “unwanted” and dealing with the elimination of “unwanted” behavior, regardless of its adaptive meaning and significance for the development of the child.

As for preschoolers, I think my position is already clear. Without focusing on the game, play activities, no approach has a chance to activate the main driving forces for the development of a child of this age. The psyche of young children, including autistic children, has such plasticity, such a resource for transformations, that the very idea of ​​limiting work with a child to working out a set of skills seems unacceptable. And, I repeat, in my opinion, it is impossible to build work with an autistic preschooler without taking into account the possibility of his involuntary attention and the almost complete absence of voluntary attention (see paragraphs 1-3). Children with more favorable forms of the syndrome (3rd and 4th form) all the more do not need such an approach. Each of them can be prepared for inclusion in a public school, and subsequently for adaptation to everyday life without those special “props” that ABA therapy provides (meaning PECS cards, visual schedules, etc. ).

In my opinion, ABA therapy should not be relied upon if a child with autism is speechless or severely delayed. I am sure that, contrary to the statements of operant therapists, the use of PECS cards (as part of the ABA program) does not stimulate, but blocks the development of the language of an autistic child. Speech communication and communication using pictograms involve completely different brain structures. If an autistic child has learned to express his simple desires with a set of cards, why would he need to use language? After all, it is clear, for example, that an ordinary child will never start drinking from a cup if he was taught to use a bottle with a nipple, and they did not specifically teach him to drink from a cup. In addition, the criterion for autism, as you know, is the stereotype of behavior, so it is almost impossible to “retrain from cards to words” a child accustomed only to cards.

To be fair, Applied Behavior Analysis is advancing as a technology and offers some effective ways to work, including in developing verbal communication skills. For example, R. Schramm's book [10] talks about how to use a child's non-verbal request, that is, his own motivation, to work out the verbal expression, "voicing" the request. I can fully confirm the effectiveness of this and other methods of work proposed by the author of the book, since all of them are not new or "an invention of the ABA", but a long-standing working habit of all professionals working with non-speaking autistic children.

ABA therapy is a system for managing a child's behavior aimed at developing household and social skills. It seems that all the work of an ABA trainer is aimed at obtaining a very real, utilitarian result. Nevertheless, a well-known problem of ABA therapy is the lack of generalization of the practiced skill, i.e. transferring it to other conditions, to another situation. This means that if a skill is taught to an autistic child at home, he will not use it in kindergarten or any other place where he might need it. And, conversely, a skill worked out in kindergarten or at school is not reproduced at home (for example, a child who is taught to take off and put on outerwear on his own in kindergarten does not do this at home; or - uses the toilet and brushes his teeth at home, but categorically does not does it in the country). In addition, the skill worked out by the ABA trainer cannot be reproduced in the presence of the mother; she herself needs to “work it out” with the child again.

Now the ABA approach "solves" this problem by simultaneously practicing the same skill in different settings, both at school and at home. It is clear that at the same time, twice as much time and effort is spent, and there is no guarantee that the child will reproduce this skill, for example, at a party or in the country. This suggests that learning skills in the ABA program does not lead to their meaningful assimilation.

There are at least two reasons for this. Firstly, it is obvious that learning has nothing to do with the fact that the child himself is significant and interesting (in fact, ABA does not have the goal of somehow taking into account or shaping these interests). Secondly, in my opinion, the learning technology itself does not take into account the cognitive characteristics of autistic children.

As far back as L. Kanner's descriptions, it is noted that a child with autism copes with sensory-motor tasks quite quickly, if everything necessary for their performance is presented in his field of vision. The ability to "see the whole" is repeatedly confirmed by examples of collecting complex puzzles, successful and quick mastering of any classification, the principle of which the child understood.

The experience of pedagogical work confirms that the education of an autistic child can be meaningful and successful if the principle “from the whole to the part” or “from the general to the particular” is observed [5]. For example, when teaching to read, the “global reading” of several words is first mastered, from which simple phrases related to the life of the child are composed. Thus, the child gets an idea about the meaning of reading, about what it is intended for. After that, it is easy to move on to reading by syllables, so that the child gets an idea of ​​the "components" of words, and can read any texts. Children taught to read in this way have never had the autistic problem of mindless, “mechanical” reading, when the child cannot retell even one phrase he has read.

The principle of teaching skills in ABA programs is the opposite: “from parts to the whole”. Each “block” of the chain mastered by the child, each individual action, from those that make up a certain skill, is “reinforced”. But by themselves, these “steps” are absolutely meaningless for an autistic child if he initially has no idea of ​​the whole. Therefore, the "links" of the chain of actions do not add up in the child's view into the algorithm of a certain skill, but remain a "set" of individual steps.

Since all the prerequisites for intellectual development in an autistic child are preserved, it is always possible to find a way to "convey" to him the meaning of using the skill that will be useful to him in life. Sometimes it's easy to do, sometimes you have to be creative.

The most natural learning of skills occurs in the mainstream of home education, if parents make special efforts to speak, comment for the child, act out and draw life events with him. That is, to organize a common life, experiencing and comprehending it together with the child. Of course, specialists should suggest both the general logic and special methods of organizing such a regime to parents.

It is important in principle to attend to the meaningful assimilation of specific skills. This task should be recognized as the main one, both in the development of social and everyday skills, and in any other training of an autistic child. And if the skill is learned meaningfully, the problem of its generalization, transfer to other conditions, simply does not arise.

ABA specialists are always indignant when their methods of work are called "training". But what else would you call a skill-training system built on the principle of “do what you are told and you will be rewarded”? (And, accordingly, “do not do what you should not do - there will be no “negative consequences”). Of course, I recognize the important role of positive and negative "reinforcers" in life and in raising children. But, unlike behaviorists, I believe that the use of "reinforcers" is just one of many ways to influence a child's behavior, change it for the better.

And, despite the fact that the training situations in the ABA programs are worked out in detail, and the reinforcement system is carefully thought out, the essence of the approach does not change from this. The child's own interests and addictions are not taken into account, autostimulation is "extinguished", spontaneous reactions and moments of initiative are not only not provoked, but are completely unnecessary and inappropriate.

Stereotypical behavior is one of the main signs of childhood autism, inherent in a child from an early age. If the corrective approach is not specifically tuned to overcome stereotypes, to provoke spontaneous reactions, to develop the child's own initiative, then one cannot expect that his behavior will become more flexible and spontaneous over time. The skills formed according to the ABA program presuppose following the worked out scheme, excluding any variability and flexibility of behavior.

The definition of ABA as "the only scientifically proven method" can be found on sites that "promote" ABA therapy. For example:

More restrained formulations are also found: “ABA therapy is the most well-studied treatment for autism spectrum disorders »

Of course, such statements cannot be taken without irony, the message embedded in them is so obvious: “And all other methods of correcting autism are unscientific, poorly studied and unproven." And yet, I am sure that such statements are not only "aggressive advertising" of the ABA method, designed for parents of autistic children.

ABA Therapy really only appears to be "the only scientifically proven method" only to the ABA specialist, who recognizes as "scientific" the only branch of psychological science called "behaviorism" (see Wikipedia). From the point of view of a behaviorist, that is, a scientist or practitioner who shares the main provisions of behavioral theory, there are simply no other concepts worthy of attention in psychology. And, accordingly, any psychological and pedagogical correctional work based not on behavioral theory, but on a different conceptual approach, cannot be recognized by an ABA specialist (behaviorist) as scientifically proven and substantiated.

We know that due to the active spread of ABA therapy in Russia, many practitioners feel discouraged. The work of teachers and psychologists who have received good results in the education and upbringing of autistic children may be declared “unscientific” by adherents of ABA therapy, and its results may be “inaccurate”.

But this does not mean that professionals should immediately abandon the knowledge accumulated by domestic and foreign humanistic psychology and pedagogy, from their own education and practical experience. And the evaluation of the results of psychological and pedagogical work with an autistic child is not at all the prerogative of behaviorists. In their evaluation system, really high performance will always be considered as "artifacts".

Unfortunately, being a realist, I understand that the technological sophistication and “efficiency” of ABA programs make them attractive both for specialists working with such children and for educational organizers. However, I hope that the right of autistic children to receive education and correctional assistance in our country will never be understood only as the right to ABA training.

Biochemical blood test. Explanation of the main indicators

Biochemical blood test is one of the routine studies that a doctor prescribes when a patient complains of feeling unwell and suspected a malfunction of the internal organs. A biochemical blood test is mandatory for people undergoing an annual medical examination or a mandatory preventive examination.

Before you donate blood, you need to prepare for this procedure. It is necessary to take into account a few fairly simple requirements:

  • donate blood must be strictly on an empty stomach;
  • in the evening, on the eve of the upcoming analysis, you can not drink strong coffee, tea, eat fatty foods and alcoholic beverages (it is better not to drink the latter for 2-3 days).

First of all, it is important to regularly check and monitor the level of glucose and cholesterol in your body . Let's start with them.

1. Glucose . Shows the level of sugar in the blood. The World Health Organization (WHO) highlights the enormity of the diabetes problem: "the sweet irony of modern technology." Today, more and more people suffer from diabetes, and not everyone knows about it. Diabetes may be an accidental finding. No treatment was carried out, the lifestyle did not change, the patient simply did not know. Sometimes it lasts for months and years.

Normally, the glucose index is from 3.5 to 6. This indicates that the body perfectly absorbs glucose, which is the main source of energy for the cells of the body and the only one for the brain and nervous system.

Regulations vary depending on the reagents and equipment used in each particular laboratory. Therefore, when interpreting the results, it is necessary to use the standards adopted in the laboratory where the analysis was taken. You also need to pay attention to the units of measurement.

But if on an empty stomach the glucose level is 6.5 and higher, then you should be wary. It is necessary to consult a doctor in a timely manner. (Note that after eating, the blood glucose level rises by almost 2 times, so it is important to donate blood strictly on an empty stomach).

What is the danger of high sugar? Some people say: “So what if glucose is 8 or 10?” The fact is that sugar is a very "toxic" substance for the walls of blood vessels, it is its high content in the blood in diabetes that causes severe damage to organs and tissues. With this disease, the retina of the eyes is affected, which sometimes leads to complete blindness;

  • diabetic foot. Gangrene develops. In severe cases, the foot is amputated;
  • nephropathy. Renal failure develops.

In diabetics, the skin is dry, the smell of acetone from the mouth appears, the limbs lose sensitivity. If drug therapy is not started in a timely manner, a fatal outcome is possible. Increased sugar consumption leads to metabolic disorders and obesity.

2. Total cholesterol. This indicator should normally not exceed 5.2. High blood cholesterol, which was not considered a problem a few decades ago, now excites many. Heart attacks and strokes take lives, and half of them are caused by atherosclerosis of the vessels, which, in turn, is a consequence of high blood cholesterol in men and women. The number of “total” cholesterol is not indicative in itself, so if it is elevated, the doctor will prescribe additional tests that will show cholesterol fractions, that is, the ratio of “bad” ( low density lipoprotein) and “good” ( high density lipoprotein) cholesterol in blood.

Elevated levels of cholesterol in the blood contributes to the development of atherosclerotic lesions of the walls of blood vessels and is one of the risk factors for the development of severe cardiovascular diseases such as angina pectoris (coronary heart disease) and myocardial infarction, cerebral stroke and intermittent claudication.

Helps lower cholesterol physical activity, no trans fats in the diet, fiber in foods allowed for a low-carbohydrate diet, inclusion of sea fish in the diet at least 2 times a week, avoiding smoking and alcohol .

It should be noted the importance of regular medical examinations, because most diseases are much easier to cure at the initial stage, when a person is still practically nothing to worry about. Remember: the complications caused by high cholesterol are irreversible, and treatment does not eliminate existing problems, but only prevents the development of new ones.

3. Total bilirubin . A biochemical blood test for bilirubin is performed for: liver diseases, destruction of red blood cells, impaired bile outflow and diseases of the biliary tract, the appearance of yellowness of the eyes and skin. This indicator gives the doctor an understanding of how a person's liver works.

Bilirubin is a bile pigment, a substance that is formed during the breakdown of certain substances, including waste hemoglobin. The body reuses iron from hemoglobin, but the protein part of the molecule after complex biochemical processes turns into bilirubin.

The indicator is normal - from 5 to 21. If bilirubin is elevated, then you need to consult a doctor so that he excludes cholelithiasis, hepatitis, liver infection. Often elevated bilirubin can indicate hepatitis A (Botkin's disease, jaundice). The rise of this disease usually occurs in autumn.

4. ALT, ALT, alanine aminotransferase and AST, AST, aspartate aminotransferase. All this together can be called one term - "transaminases". Alanine aminotransferase (ALT, or ALT) are marker enzymes for the liver. Aspartate aminotransferase (AST, or ASAT) is a marker enzyme for the myocardium. The amount of the enzyme alanine aminotransferase in the blood is measured in units per liter. The doctor looks at the ratio of ALT and AST and draws conclusions.

For diagnostic purposes, not only the fact of changes in the blood parameters of AST and ALT is important, but also the degree of their increase or decrease, as well as the ratio of the number of enzymes to each other.

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