Financial Goal $50,000$6,558 raised
The Problem Addressed by the Project
Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder defined by various problems grouped in three areas: (a) Social interaction: Lack of interest in interacting with others, (b) Language and communication: Delayed or unusual linguistic and communicative development, and (c) Behaviors and interest: Repetitive, stereotyped, problematic behaviors and interests. Prevalence of autism has been rising considerably in the last several years and it is 1 in every 110 children in 2010. This prevalence rate makes autism the most prevalent neurological disorder of childhood. However, there are no dependable statistics regarding the prevalence of autism in Turkey. Hence, one can only make projections based on the world statistics.
Timeline: 07/01/2011 - 12/31/2013
The Goal of the Project
Autism is not curable but it is treatable. According to the research base, the most beneficial treatment approach is applied behavior analysis (ABA). ABA treatments need to start in early childhood and be intensive. About half of the children who can receive such services make remarkable progress and continue their education in inclusive environments. That is, although seems to be expensive, early and intensive ABA services are very cost-effective for the society in the long period. On the other hand, the treatment options are numerous and it is not easy for parents to reach the most beneficial treatments for their children. Thus, it is necessary to raise awareness and disseminate ABA practices in the society.
Turkey is among the countries with the biggest need in this sense. The percentage of special needs students is about 1% in Turkey whereas it is 3-6% in Europe. This means that great majority of special needs children, many with autism, cannot receive special education services in Turkey. Furthermore, there is a lack of early identification and intensive ABA services in Turkey.
The Impact of the Project
Tohum opened a school for children with autism in 2006. The curriculum and instructional approach followed at Tohum’s school is based on ABA. Currently 126 students are enrolled in Tohum’s school; 102 students receive rehabilitation services whereas 24 students attend school full-time.
A variety of behavioral techniques are utilized at Tohum’s School such as activity schedules, scripts and script fading, discrete trial teaching (DTT), incidental teaching, modeling/video-modeling, peer mediated instruction, and stimulus prompts.