Submitted by: Foeke Rienks, BCBA
Being born in the Netherlands and then having moved to the United States, I have wondered for a few years what the differences are in treatment for children who have a diagnosis of autism. My education was in PsychoMotor Therapy in the Netherlands and was mainly geared towards young adults and utilizing physical activities to highlight problem areas in life. Once I move to the United States, I learned about young adults who engaged in problematic behaviors and furthered my education to learn more about problem behavior.
Working for Reaching Milestones for the last 9 years has taught me a lot about working with children, especially ones who have an autism diagnosis. I have obtained an MS in Applied Behavior Analysis, have furthered my education and knowledge to learn about ABA: the most effective treatment for children diagnosed with autism. But how are these services in other countries / continents?
After doing some research I came to find out that the prevalence of autism in the population is similar as here in the United States as it is in the Netherlands (about 1:100). However, there are only a small number of providers who provide services that include aspects of ABA (discrete trial teaching, PECS, Pivotal Response Treatment) but only utilize bits and pieces. Researching educational institutions that offer a Master’s Degree in ABA is rising in the United States. However, the Netherlands, for example only has 8 Universities that offer Psychology, Pedagogical, and/or Educational sciences at the BA and MS levels. Zero of these offer a MS in ABA or any training in the principles of ABA. There is a clear lack of ABA providers in the Netherlands who have the knowledge to work with children who are diagnosed with autism and the United States is far ahead of providing effective and evidence based treatments specifically for children with a diagnosis of autism.