What is ABA Therapy?
Many professionals believe ABA Therapy is the gold standard treatment to use with children who have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ABA Therapy, or Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy, is a data-driven therapy based on the science of behavior. The main focus of ABA therapy is to increase helpful or productive behaviors and to decrease disruptive or harmful behaviors.
According to Autism Speaks, behavior analysis helps us understand:
• How behavior works
• How behavior is affected by the environment
• How learning takes place
The ABA Therapy approach can do so many wonderful things for you and your child. It has been shown to increase language and communication skills, socialization skills and play skills. It can also help to improve attention, focus, memory and decrease challenging behaviors.
Sounds great, but how does it work?
First, it is important to know that ABA Therapy is unique to each child and is adapted to fit the needs of each child, there is no “one size fits all.” ABA Therapy uses something called discrete trial teaching (DTT) and reward-based intervention or “reinforcement.” The best way to explain how reinforcement works is by example. Let’s say little Billy is working on self-feeding skills, the ABA Therapist first wants to make sure he can understand when he is asked to use his fork. Billy is asked to pick up a fork from the table, if he correctly completes this task, he will receive reinforcement. Since Billy received reinforcement, he is more likely to complete the task in the future. Reinforcers can be many different things, maybe it’s a hug, a favorite bite of snack, a run down a slide, a high five, or a “good job!” This “trial,” or program, is repeated multiple times throughout a session/ day. The repetition helps your child understand the concept of using items or ideas and generalizing information within their environment.
The BCBA (an individual with a master’s degree in ABA and has been credentialed by the Board), oversees and creates the programs for your child and is consistently monitoring and assessing progress. This means if your child is rapidly learning and getting all the trials correct, the BCBA will challenge your child and make trials harder to expand skills. On the opposite side, if your child is not fully grasping the program, the BCBA will change the program easier. This will be done through prompts, and ensure your child is able to learn that skill before moving onto a harder task.
The monitoring of programs is done through data analysis. The ABA Therapist has lots of numbers, data, and charts and they are constantly monitoring to decide what the next step should be (i.e changing the program harder or easier.)
Earlier, it was said that the ABA approach not only helps your child, but also you as the caregiver. You will be asked to be involved in your child’s therapy by running trials, modeling social skills or managing challenging behaviors. It is important for you to be involved in your child’s therapy so that their skills generalize to the home and you can be involved in all of their growth and learning!
If you need services in Pennsylvania or Connecticut, we can help! Contact us today and let’s get started. Visit us today at https://www.autismtherapyaba.com/contact/