ABA therapy is a scientifically validated approach to understanding learning and behavior by looking at the function of the behavior and the environment in which it occurs. Anything a person does is a behavior (talking, eating, playing with toys, getting dressed, etc.). This scientific approach is used to improve socially significant behavior and promote meaningful change.
ABA looks at the purpose behind those actions and under what circumstances they occur to change them or teach new, more functional ways of doing something. For example, if a child screams when asked to put on their shoes, ABA would look at the environment around them to determine why they are screaming and then determine what would be a more appropriate way of meeting the same need.
Through the principles of behavior, we can teach new skills, increase communication, social skills, and daily/functional living skills while decreasing maladaptive behaviors such as tantrums, self-injury, aggression, and non-compliance. Positive behavior, support, and reinforcement are used to motivate each client. Data is continuously collected to measure the client’s progress and to modify their client treatment plan as needed.
What does ABA help with?
Goals are custom-made for each individual child and meet the child in their current circumstance. Goals may work on one or more of the following skills:
communication & language
self-care & functional skills
ABA principles have been applied since the early 1960s with both children and adults with developmental disorders. Today there are a wide variety of ABA techniques that have been developed to help learners develop and build functional skills. ABA is the only therapy that has been endorsed by the U.S. Surgeon General as an effective treatment for autism.
One of the reasons ABA therapy for kids is so effective is that it systematically looks at the basics of learning and then builds upon them. The clinical team looks closely at the skills your child has and needs to work on, building a plan tailored to their needs and learning style. Our therapists look at your child’s needs, skills, interests, preferences, and family environment. This means that the ABA program that your child is following will look different than the program of another child. Goals are determined based on this plan and once a goal is met, the team moves on to the next step. It’s all about breaking things down into teachable steps, and then building on them to make your child as independent as possible.