• The University promotes an innovative technique to treat autism

    March 09, 2011

    The academic institution appears among the world's top 20 universities in the research of effective therapies for this disease

    Presentation of ABA box in the University of Oviedo
    The University of Oviedo has just presented an innovative tool in the methodology for the Behaviour Analysis as a treatment for the autism. The "ABA Box" (Caja ABA) is the result of an international scientific project called STAMPPP whose main objective is to approximate parents and educators of autistic children to this therapy that, following the experts' opinion, is effective in improving the learning and the quality of life of those who are affected. The box contains a manual about this method, a DVD which shows professionals and parents' opinions, a CD-ROM with a huge variety of resources, a notebook to write the conducts down, a pen and the pet of the project.

    The research group of the University of Oviedo, led by Luis Antonio Pérez González, is the only group in Spain that do research into ABA methodology and which participates in the STAMPPP project (Science and the Treatment of Autism: A Multimedia Package for Parents and Professionals), a Leonardo Da Vinci's programme to promote the innovation in the European Union which was led by Dr. Mickey Keenan, from the Ulster University and in which researchers from United Kingdom, Germany and Norway also took part.

    The vice-rector for Research, Santiago García Granda; the vice- rector for Internationalization and Cooperation for Development, Ana María Fernández, the general director of Old people and Disability, Alejandro Suárez and the coordinator of the university research team, Luis Antonio Pérez, were presents at the presentation. Ana María Fernández took this brand new material –which will be distribute in Spain, United Kingdom, Germany and Norway- as an example of the promotion of innovation as well as the importance of European programmes such as Leonardo da Vinci, which has made possible the execution of this project.

    The vice-rector for Research stressed the quality of the team work developed by the Psychology department, which has received three international awards from the Association for the Behaviour Analysis International (ABAI) and it has become a reference worldwide. In fact, in a recent report about the effectiveness of the ABA treatments for autism in the United States (National Standards Report) five scientific articles of this research group are mentioned. This information stands the University of Oviedo in the world's top 20 universities when researching about efficient treatments for the autism. The team collaborates with Douglas Greer from the Teacher's College of the University of Columbia, who is probably the most relevant researcher in this area. Santiago García Granda pointed out that this project also shares the purposes of the Campus of International Excellence through its Cluster of Biomedicine and Health.

    Pérez González explained the content of the ABA box and he added that this therapy for autism based on Behaviour Analysis methodology has shown its effectiveness as it has allowed children to control their sphincters, eat by their own and learn vocal language. Nowadays, there are nearly 150 kids who suffer from autism in Asturias, despite the fact that this methodology is not applied in public centres; it's quite used in private clinics. The research indicated that the huge problem is the lack of professionals formed in this method. On the other hand, the general director of Old people and Disability established that the possibility of introducing this kind of treatment in public centres will be analyzed.

    The University of Oviedo owns one thousand ABA boxes which will be sent to professional groups, schools and parents associations around Spain. For that purpose, seminars which will explain the principles of this methodology and the adequate use of the boxes will be organized.