Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a learning-based therapy that focuses on understanding how behavior works in order to meet objectives. ABA can improve attention and concentration, increase communication and decrease problematic behaviors. ABA is the most common form of autism therapy, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to understand right away. Due to its multi-dynamic approach, ABA can be confusing for parents. In order to make the most out of your child’s treatment, here are nine truths about ABA therapy.
1. The Environment Plays a Large Role in Treatment
ABA therapy strives to change behaviors where they occur. For example, if a child screams and breaks down when it’s time for bed, the therapist will look at the environment and circumstances surrounding bedtime. Then, they will deliver suggestions to improve the situation and make them more functional for the child.
2. Staff Must Be Board-Certified
A developmental psychologist isn’t the same thing as an ABA therapist. In order to deliver the most effective treatments, ABA therapists must be board-certified behavioral analysts who are highly knowledgeable and experienced in treating autism disorder. They have specific analytic techniques and intervention skills that enable them to provide the best treatment for autism and each individual child.
3. ABA is About Social Adaptation
Because many autistic children do not speak or effectively communicate, ABA strives to help these students learn how to develop social skills that will allow them to effectively communicate with their peers and the world around them.
4. The Therapy is Goal-Oriented
ABA therapy is constantly refined in each case because it’s based off definable, measurable goals. For example, one goal may be to have a child greet his teacher every morning by waving and saying, “Hi.” This goal and its attempts will be measured, and the approach will be refined if there is no progress.
ABA is highly adaptable to each unique child’s condition and needs. Therapy will vary depending on what a student is capable of and what they need to achieve.
5. ABA Can Treat Other Disorders and Problems
ABA is also an effective therapeutic approach to quitting smoking, help personality disorders, treat OCD and in the workplace. In these cases, it centers around positive reinforcement.
6. ABA Therapy is an Established Field
Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy was founded over 35 years ago, but it’s based off Behavioral Modification, which dates back to the early 1900’s.
7. Data Matters
ABA is based off observational data. Rather than seeking to immediately change behavior based off a standard, ABA therapists analyse each client’s behaviors and try to understand their deeper influences and meaning.
8. ABA Therapy Focuses on Success
People aren’t scolded or bribed in ABA therapy. Instead, when a desired action is performed, the child or adult is rewarded. Positive associations are made between favorable behaviors and good outcomes, so patients develop a favorable relationship with them.
9. ABA is Endorsed by Leading Psychological and Medical Associations
There are many major organizations that support the use of ABA including the American Academy of Neurology, the American Academy of Family Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, the National Institute of Mental Health and the Autism Society of America.