If one form of therapy comes close to an autism therapy, it’s Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA uses behavior modification techniques that, when applied as early intervention, can help children with autism lead happy, productive, and healthy lives. One of the most common therapies offered by school programs and covered by insurance, ABA is the gold standard for behavior strategies for children on the autism spectrum.
What makes ABA so good for children with autism?
ABA has been around a long time. A therapy method developed in the 1960s by Ole Ivar Lovaas, it has evolved over the years into a gentler behavior method. When applied early during intervention, ABA can help children function better in social, emotional, and daily life situations.
What makes ABA such a popular choice of therapies is its analysis portion. An ABA therapist tracks and analyzes every strategy and method used. This way, therapists and families understand what works, what needs work, and where to focus their energy. The goal is to help children on the autism spectrum function in what can be difficult situations for them. You start with very clear, measurable goals tailored for each individual child and adjusted as your child progresses. ABA therapy is custom-built around the child’s needs, skills, and particular goals.
It’s easy to see and measure success when you have clearly defined goals and a tracking system in place to analyze methods. ABA therapy is effective for children with the most challenging behaviors like self-inflicted injuries and aggression. Your child’s therapist works to minimize negative behaviors and encourage desired behaviors.
What are some ABA therapies?
ABA is powerful because it looks at behaviors through a lens of careful observations, note taking, and analysis. Analysts can understand even the most confusing behaviors from the data observed and recorded. Once you understand behavior, you can change it based on the desired goals and outcomes you’ve identified.
Your ABA therapist will evaluate your child and recommend a series of discrete trial methods. Discrete trials encourage your child to perform a task or behavior and receive a reward when he or she accomplishes it. Based on the evaluation, your child will also receive behavioral interventions to encourage positive behaviors and extinguish non-desirable behaviors. Using positive reinforcement, your child will learn appropriate behaviors in situations he/she needs them most.
Your child can receive these therapy methods in your own home with a dedicated ABA therapist. In addition, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) assesses your child’s various skills and behaviors to identify techniques and strategies for your child’s individual treatment plan. Each child receives a customized plan tailored directly to his or her needs.
What can an ABA therapist do for your child?
Does your child have difficulties with certain desirable behaviors? Maybe he or she exhibits challenging undesirable behaviors like flapping or spinning, hitting, kicking, or even running into traffic. In some cases, it’s his or her way of avoiding what they don’t want to do.
An ABA therapist observes your child in his or her home environment to gather information about skills, preferences, challenges, and more to develop interventions. A strategy may be to use 1:1 therapy to encourage certain behaviors with stickers and motivational prizes as rewards for appropriate behavior.
Given enough time, ABA can teach your child social, emotional, and executive functions and a wide range of skills and behaviors. From brushing teeth to playing on the playground with peers, your child can flourish in his or her environment and take those skills out into the wider world to blossom.
Call Behaviors today
If anything in this article strikes a chord with you, contact Behaviors today to schedule a consultation. Let us meet you and your child to see what we can do for him or her, you, and your family—because the whole family benefits when a child on the autism spectrum receives ABA therapy.
Behaviors’ experienced, highly trained BCBAs, ABA therapists, and paraprofessionals are dedicated to help those with special needs. It’s not just our profession; it’s our calling.