A Guide On ABA Therapy

Applied behavioral analysis (ABA) is a practical therapy for people on the autism spectrum. There is considerable evidence that ABA helps improve learning, socialization, communication, and motor skills. So, what does ABA entail?  

What is ABA? 

The ABA approach proposes that it is possible to treat autism by modifying or extinguishing a set of behavioral symptoms associated with the disorder. Over recent years, ABA has become an evidence-based practice with peer-reviewed literature supporting its effectiveness. 

The ABA therapy helps determine the challenges to individual behavior and device strategies to overcome the difficulties. According to ABA therapy, a person is more likely to repeat a behavior when a valued reward follows the specific behavior. Thus, the ABA approach encourages positive actions through a series of rewards. Broadly, ABA therapy is helpful in different settings, including schools, homes, and hospitals. 

How Does ABC Therapy Work? 

The ABC therapy involves three basic steps in a typical treatment session. Essentially, the steps called ABCs stand for Antecedent, Behavior, and Consequence. The therapist uses the ABCs to show how maladaptive behavior leads to negative outcomes and positive behaviors to positive results. In this case, the stimulus triggers a behavior, the behavior occurs, and is then followed by consequences. For instance, when a child with autism gets a request to brush their teeth and disobeys, they get a negative result.

In comparison, if the child obeys the request, the parent rewards them with something special such as playtime or a toy. In practice, the therapist will demonstrate this pattern in therapy sessions to teach parents the same technique. As a result, the parents can reinforce the pattern for the lesson to take hold. 

What are the ABA Therapy Techniques?

The following are the primary techniques used in ABA therapy to produce positive results: 

  • Positive reinforcement where a child gets a reward for doing something correctly 
  • Negative reinforcement involving an immediate punishment for bad behavior 
  • Prompting children with verbal and visual cues to remind them of positive behavior and fading the prompts when the child learns 
  • Task analysis involving the teacher or parent giving a task and watching the child's performance 
  • Video modeling where children learn how to behave by watching a videotape 

How can you Access ABA Therapy? 

ABA therapy services are available through board-certified analysts (BCBA). However, registered behavior technicians (RBTs) trained and supervised by BCBAs can also provide the therapy. Besides the technical skills, the therapist must possess communication, critical thinking, and empathy skills. Thus, it is crucial to verify that the therapist has the proper training. Notably, you can get referrals for ABA therapists from your medical provider, insurance companies, and resource directories.

Ultimately, ABA therapy can instill positive behavior in autistic children by supporting them to learn daily living skills. Thus, consult an ABA therapist with the proper training to understand the particular techniques that can help you support the child. Contact an ABA therapy service to learn more.