Applied Behavior Analysis-What is It and Why is It Helpful?
Applied behavioral analysis (ABA) uses techniques to increase positive or useful behaviors and to reduce those that may be disruptive or harmful.
ABA includes specific strategies that help children acquire new behaviors and decrease inappropriate behaviors using reinforcement techniques that are carefully chosen for each child.
ABA addresses and works on the ABCs- antecedents, behaviors and consequences.
Antecedents are the "triggers" or what happened that caused the behavior to occur. This can include taking away a toy, a loud noise or sensory disturbance, etc. Behaviors are what follow the antecedents and can be comprised of violent outbursts, biting, shutting down, etc. The consequences are what come after the behavior and are directly related to the behavior. It can vary between a positive reinforcement, a punishment or ignoring the behavior.
ABA tailors individual treatments for each child by compiling a thorough assessment that is done by the behavior analyst (BCBA). The goals of the assessment include observing different settings the child is in, gathering information and identifying the antecedents that are causing the behaviors. Subsequent to the assessment a plan is built, addressing how best to target the behaviors and react differently to them. This is the consequences part of the ABCs. By doing so, ABA is trying to instill in the therapist's reactions along with the parent's reactions behaviors that will result in diminishing negative behaviors in the child and promoting the positive ones. Once the therapy begins the ABA therapist collects data constantly to learn how to better adjust the goals and therapy and improve the child's behaviors. Furthermore, the behavior analyst (BCBA) who is the one that creates the plan, also supervises the parents to enable carryover and continuous work with the child. This is crucial and significant to both support the parents emotionally but also to address these behaviors constantly.
So why is ABA talked about so much?
ABA is an evidence based therapy that has been scientifically and empirically validated. This means that ABA has been shown to be consistent and truly working on what it is meant to. There have been numerous studies and scientific backings to support ABA therapy and therefore it is widely used.
In addition, due to the fact that ABA is a well thought and individualized therapy, it accounts for the child's needs and different experiences. Each child diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder is his or her own being, with a complex and special inner world. Therefore ABA needs to adjust the therapy goals and processes to fit the child and his or her own personal situation. This is unique and something that causes many people to see results in their ABA treatment!
What Does ABA Work On?
ABA can improve various things including social skills, eye contact, communication and learning. Furthermore, ABA reduces noncompliant behaviors, violent tendencies and uncooperative behaviors.
Who Can ABA Help?
ABA helps a wide variety of children with various diagnoses including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Obedient Defiant Disorder and Children with additional aggressive tendencies. While it is mostly used to treat children with ASD, ABA does help reduce other negative behaviors in children not diagnosed with ASD.
ABA can be covered by insurance, especially if your child is diagnosed with ASD. Additionally, other non-profit organizations help many families receive services if they are unable to financially pay for private ABA and are not covered by insurance. It is always helpful to call your insurance company first and then find out what you are eligible to receive.
ABA has done wonders for children on the spectrum, helping them be more social and communicate their needs better!
For additional questions, please don't hesitate to contact us! 201-894-5800. FOCUS Children's Therapy Center is here to support families and provide the best care possible!