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Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA is an evidence-based method used to improve or change specific behaviors. ABA therapy teaches children by breaking down complex tasks into small and discrete instructional steps. These small steps build on each other towards mastering a complex goal such as functional communication. ABA Therapists use praise or preferred items to build on the child’s progress while mastering these small steps. Children affected by ASD often require ABA-based procedures such as prompting and reinforcement to successfully achieve their goals. ABA is also used to replace inappropriate behaviors with appropriate behaviors. Overall, ABA therapy has been effectively used to improve behaviors like social skills, reading, academics, and communication as well as learned skills like grooming, hygiene, fine motor dexterity, job proficiency, and even simple things like a child keeping his room clean.Learn more
ABA therapy is individualized for each and every child. Therefore, the duration of treatment is case-specific. Prior to beginning services, assessments will be conducted to determine the current skill level in the Social and Communication domains (domains initially assessed may depend upon where the initial deficits are greater). Assessment scores can aide in guiding a determination in how long a client may be requiring ABA services. Looking at the duration of ABA sessions, ABA therapy sessions can range from 2-5 hours each depending on multiple factors which include client availability and intensity of treatment hours clinically recommended. When looking at the overall duration of treatment, this is dependent upon a multitude of factors. Some of these factors include the client’s initial skill level at the onset of treatment, the intensity of treatment hours prescribed, the rate in which the client is able to acquire skill, maintaining scheduled sessions, and caregiver participation in treatment to help ensure the maintenance of skills. Every client will receive a tentative discharge summary written by their BCBA that outlines the criteria for discharge from services when it has been determined that ABA support is no longer medically necessary. The discharge summary may change at any time and the initial course of treatment may be extended due to the presence of new maladaptive behavior, skill regression, challenges with generalization, and/or new deficits that may arise.Learn more
No. ABA therapy is scientifically proven to be effective in treating symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with individualized treatment plans designed specifically for each client to teach or strengthen a variety of important communication and social skills; for example: responding to one’s name, answering questions out loud, greeting others, imitation, conversation skills, and following multiple instructions. In addition to teaching new or strengthening pre-existing prosocial behaviors, ABA therapy is also effective in replacing maladaptive behavior(s) through the use of assessment tools to effectively determine the function(s) of the behavior(s) and teaching an appropriate functionally equivalent replacement behavior(s). While ABA has been proven to positively change the lives of individuals affected by autism, ABA is not limited to treatment solely for autism. ABA can be implemented to support individuals of all ages and abilities whether they are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), are neurotypically developing, or have another developmental disability. ABA has also been used to effectively treat patients with dementia, substance abuse, cognitive impairment following a brain injury, eating disorders, and more.Learn more
ABA therapy services can be provided in the home setting, among other settings, such as the school and community. Programming may be more efficient in these cases, as the behaviors are occurring in the natural environment. This also means that new skills are more easily and likely to generalize across everyday settings and individuals. Furthermore, this allows for increased opportunities to teach daily living skills within the environment/s where they are most often needed. Service location may be programmed into the individual’s treatment plan based on medical necessity and decided by the BCBA, in conjunction with the family. Additional benefits of having ABA therapy services provided at home is that caregivers can continually be active participants and/or observe in therapy sessions. This gives the parents the ability to increase their overall understanding of ABA principles and how to apply them outside of the session. The family within the home can also be a part of the session so that they too can help in the success of the learner! In return, this will increase the likelihood of success for the learner, in generalizing and maintaining skills learned and reduction of maladaptive behaviors. ABA therapy within the home is a great starting place for therapy services.Learn more
ABA therapy can help your child if they have communication, social, adaptive living, and behavior deficits. These deficit areas may impede daily functioning and the ability to independently interact with their natural environment. The goal of ABA therapy is to work with your child’s current skill level by developing individualized programs that target socially significant goals that are important to him/her and the family. All goals will be developed according to the initial/ongoing assessment, BCBA observation, and collaboration with the family/learner. Furthermore, all ABA principles are backed by evidence-based research! This is the main reason why ABA is the treatment of choice for referring physicians and other national organizations such as the Autism Society of America, National Institute of Child Health & Human Development & American Academy of Family Pediatrics.
Goals can be related to how they interact with their peers, so they can better form and maintain meaningful relationships with others. Goals can also include learning how to brush their teeth, tie shoes, use the toilet, wash their hands, etc., which are all essential for independence. Other programs addressed in ABA may be working to reduce maladaptive behaviors and replacing those behaviors with more adaptive functional behaviors. Additionally, we will often work on communication skills, as this is a key element to any learner’s success. We can teach the learner how to be successful in different modes of communication such as sign language, gestures, vocal verbal, PECs, or with a communication device. It is essential for learners to have the ability to communicate clearly and effectively with others in their environment.