According to the official BACB website, Applied Behavior Analysis is a systematic approach for influencing socially important behavior through the identification of reliably related environmental variables and the production of behavior change techniques that make use of those findings. Practitioners of behavior analysis provide services consistent with the dimensions of ABA.
Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is the leading scientific method used to bring about behavior change in a positive and meaningful way. The behaviors targeted are considered socially significant, harmful or they interfere with learning for children, teens, and adults with a diagnosis of autism. It is the systematic application of interventions used to bring about positive and beneficial change in behaviors that are disruptive to individuals with autism, as well as teach appropriate adaptive skills and replacement behaviors that will be utilized for a lifetime. ABA uses research proven principles of learning and ways of motivating individuals to effectively teach new behaviors. ABA therapy is driven by data collection and the thorough study of individual behaviors.
Board Certified Behavior Analysts offer many services including:
- Conducting behavioral assessments
- Analyzing data
- Writing and revising behavior-analytic treatment plans
- Training others to implement components of treatment plans
- Overseeing the implementation of treatment plans
The word behavior means anything a person says of does. Behavior is influenced by environmental events and can be observed, recorded, and described. There are many influences on behavior. These influences are environmental, emotional, and cognitive. Each of these influences can severely impact the way someone with autism learns. During ABA therapy, these influences for each individual are considered and a treatment plan is created that reflects how they affect a child’s behavior.
A behavior analyst will assist you to clearly define the strengths and learning needs of your child followed by addressing those needs using research-based methodologies. This includes observing your child’s behavior in a variety of environments, in order to understand the current learning strengths and needs. Your behavior analyst will train family members, so that your child will generalize these new skills across the many people and places in their life. For example, your child will learn how to request a drink from different family members across different settings and environments.
Once a child is assessed to determine their needs and current level of function, a trained Behavior Technician will work one on one with them in settings that range from in-home sessions to community sessions. Sessions can also be done in the office. These sessions will use positive reinforcement to increase the child’s positive behaviors and how they interact within various social environments while decreasing undesirable behaviors.
Toddlers, School-aged children, teens and young adults diagnosed with autism benefit from Applied Behavioral Analysis.
ABA therapy is recognized worldwide for its safe and effective approach to helping individuals with autism lead fulfilling and productive lives. Invaluable skills are learned through the techniques applied during ABA therapy sessions such as conversing, understanding one’s surroundings and even more complex skills like reading and writing.
ABA is the applied use of behavioral principles to everyday situations with the goal of either increasing or decreasing targeted behaviors. The practical application of ABA is unique to each specific situation. In terms of ABA methods, all ABA programs involve the following: discrete trial teaching, programming for generalization to the natural environment, reinforcement, prompting and fading strategies, and outcome-based decision-making.
These ABA strategies have been proven to be effective and therefore are used often. A child’s treatment goals will be developmentally appropriate and customized to meet the child’s specific needs. Both the BCBA and Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) may work with the child in the community. They will ensure their safety and ability to learn from the situation; they see every environment as a place that a child can apply their acquired adaptive skills and attain their goals.
A Behavioral Technician will work with a child one on one during their ABA sessions. The sessions typically last between 2-3 hours, and during this time the behavioral technician will implement the plan put in place by the BCBA.
Behavior Technicians are highly trained and skilled in the application of ABA therapy. With the guidance of BCBAs, a child’s behavior technician will address a child’s maladaptive behaviors and help them develop more appropriate play, social, communication, self-care, home and community skills.
A BCBA sees a child as an individual, no one person with autism is like the other. With a tailored plan that is explicitly designed to ensure that the child will learn skills that will be invaluable throughout their lifetime, ABA therapy can make all the difference.