Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
What is ABA?
Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) uses the scientific principles of learning and motivation in order to effectively teach.
It focuses on the idea that the consequences of what we do affect what we learn and what we will do in the future.
ABA seeks to improve specific behaviors while demonstrating a reliable relationship between the procedures used and the change in the individual's behavior.
ABA uses positive reinforcement to increase more positive behaviors & social interactions & decrease inappropriate behaviors.
ABA therapy is implemented to ensure that each individual's programs are tailored to that individual's unique needs.
How does ABA help?
ABA Therapy Techniques
VB (Verbal Behavior) Training uses a structured and one-on-one type of teaching format. This training works to teach language to children by creating and developing connections between a word and its meaning.
Natural Environment Teaching (NET) focuses on practicing and teaching skills within the situations that they would naturally happen. In these situations, the therapist uses naturally occurring opportunities to help the children learn.
The therapist might provide a coloring page but withhold the crayons until the child requests them, giving the child an empty cup and waiting for him/her to request juice, or playing a board game but with holding the dice until the child requests are all examples of NET (Natural Environment Teaching).
Pivotal Response Training (PRT) uses the Natural Environment for teaching opportunities and consequences. PRT focuses on increasing motivation by adding items like having the child make choices/selections, taking turns, and providing reinforcement for attempts made.
Self Management Training is used to help children increase their independence and generalization of skills without always requiring the help of a teacher or parent. This technique results in a child learning to monitor their own behavior. Children are taught to self-evaluate their behaviors, keep track and monitor their behaviors, and provide their own type of reinforcement.
How often should ABA be done?
ABA Therapy consists of intensive programming that is that is tailored to the student's needs. Depending on each child's skill level as well as range and level of disability the amount of hours needed for services will vary.
The ideal range of hours are typically from 10 to 40 hours per week (it is often a financial decision regarding the number of hours scheduled per week). Children needing more help and support will be at the higher range while those requiring less support will be at the lower end.
The earlier a child with Autism receives ABA therapy the better. Children that receive services earlier than age four are considered to receiving Early Intervention Services. Even if a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder does not receive services at a young age they can still benefit from receiving therapy at an older age. No one is too young or too old to receive therapy.