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Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy

Applied Behavior Analysis is the application of basic behavioral practices to facilitate the development of language, social interactions, independent living skills, and other socially significant needs. With ABA’s focus on observable behavior, and behavior change to a socially acceptable and meaningful extent, it provides a unique, yet extremely effective approach to Autism treatment.

Applied Behavior Analysis focuses on:

  • Reducing behaviors that interfere with a child’s learning
  • Teaching more socially appropriate replacement behaviors
  • 1:1 Intensive teaching
  • Positive reinforcement
  • Teaching in small steps/repeating

Applied Behavior Analysis, commonly referred to as ABA, is a field of psychology that applies a scientific approach to the study of behavior. Tested by research and experience for more than 35 years, ABA practices have been endorsed by the Surgeon General, the National Institutes of Health, and the Associations for Science in Autism Research.

ABA is 1:1 therapy working towards teaching behavior reduction and/or skill acquisition. Research has proven that most success with ABA is found when services are between 10-40 hours per week. It is based on the belief that behavior reinforced is more likely to be repeated, and behavior that is not reinforced is less likely to be repeated.

Applied Behavior Analysis is based on empirical data and provides direct measures of performance to determine progress. Since the child’s environment is manipulated, the systematic approach creates a controlled scenario to show actual skill development. At its simplest, ABA is a tool to help people with ASD learn.

ABA can help a client build many different social skills such as communication, toilet training, independence, and leisure skills. Adverse behaviors such as self-injury, aggression, and destructive or restrictive behaviors can also be corrected.

Decades of scientific research, through natural setting and laboratory testing, has proven the effectiveness of Applied Behavior Analysis. Since ABA is scientifically backed, the techniques used by our behavior analysts are grounded in research that supports the effectiveness of the implemented treatments.

A component of ABA therapy is the development of individualized treatment packages, in other words, one package does not fit all. With Autism being so complex, and each individual being so unique, individualized treatment packages play a key role in the effectiveness of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Parents and other caregivers are also trained to implement treatment techniques to ensure that their effects are maintained and carried over into different environments even after sessions have ended. This is a key component in the long-term effectiveness of ABA Therapy.

Autism Spectrum Disorder presents as a very complex diagnosis that is characterized by a variety of behavioral impairments, whether it be speech, daily living skills, social interaction, academics, etc. All current signs of Autism are observable behaviors exhibited by the individual. With ABA’s focus on observable behavior, and behavior change to a socially acceptable and meaningful extent, it provides a unique and extremely effective approach to Autism treatment.

Applied Behavior Analysis involves Interdisciplinary Treatments to help understand and change behavior. The basis of ABA Therapy is personalized treatment. Each person with Autism Spectrum Disorder has their own set of symptoms, so treatment needs to be customized to fit every individual client.

Positive reinforcement is one of the main strategies used in ABA. To encourage a positive behavior change, a “reward” may be given to help strengthen the possibility that the correct decision would be made again. Once the behavior technician identifies something as a positive behavior, they will reward the client every time the behavior is done properly. The positive reward encourages the continued use of the behavior. Over time, this will lead to a meaningful change.

Understanding “ABCs” of the Applied Behavior Analysis program will lead to positive outcomes:

  • Antecedent (action occurring directly before the behavior)
  • Behavior (reaction to antecedent)
  • Consequence (result from the behavior)

Looking at this sequence allows the technician to understand why the behavior is happening and a different consequence could alter the likelihood of the behavior happening again. With continued practice, the patient will alter their behaviors toward one that is more beneficial to the desired outcome.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy can assist an individual in achieving a higher level of independence throughout their everyday living.

Occupational Therapy focuses on:

  • Self-Care
  • Fine and Gross Motor Skills
  • Visual/Perceptual Skills
  • Acquisition of skills related to everyday tasks and activities
  • Implementing environmental adaptations and accommodations

Speech and Language Therapy

Speech and Language Therapy is an evidence-based treatment that is individualized to assist children with the acquisition of functional language along with social and/or cognitive communication along with speech difficulties.

Speech and Language Therapy focuses on:

  • Appropriate Articulation
  • Receptive/Expressive Language
  • Cognitive Communication
  • Strengthen jaw, mouth, and neck muscles
  • Modulate tone of voice

Social Skills

Social skills are often embedded into the ABA program for clients who will benefit from them.

Social Skills focuses on:

  • Communication with others
  • Interaction in various age-appropriate social situations
  • Read and react social cues appropriately

Parent Education and Consultation

Parent involvement in the ABA therapy process is critical for success, and is therefore a requirement of the ABA therapy treatment package. During parent sessions, parents inform their Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) of their desired outcomes for themselves, their child with ASD, and their family unit as a whole, as a result of ABA therapy. The BCBA and parents collaboratively set goals and meet regularly to learn about ABA and the strategies parents can use at home to meet these goals and to support their child’s success.

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