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Applied Behavior Analysis Principles

At Autism Home Support Services, we believe that every child can learn skills necessary to be successful. In order to achieve their full potential, children with autism need people who understand their motivation and can break down goals into tasks that they can accomplish. Even complex behaviors can be analyzed to identify step-by-step ways to promote adaptive behavior and reduce maladaptive behaviors.

While there are varying applications of Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA therapy, AHSS takes a holistic approach in implementing the core methodologies of ABA therapy to build on a child’s skills and further develop capabilities. These methods include pairing and play, Discrete Trial Training (DTT), Pivotal Response Training, Natural Environment Teaching (NET), Verbal Behavior (VB), and more.

A Brief History of ABA Therapy

ABA therapy stemmed from a prior form of treatment for children with autism known as behavioral modification therapy. Behavioral modification, however, focused primarily on changing behavior without the consideration of environmental factors influencing those behaviors. Applied behavior analysis training programs approach challenging behaviors and lacking skills as issues that must be addressed with consideration of all environmental factors that could be associated.

Originated by the scientific principles of Dr. B.F. Skinner in the 1960s, ABA therapy programs gained popularity treating children with autism in the 1980s. Therefore, ABA therapy has been in use for aiding children with autism for more than 40 years. It has become a highly trusted form of therapy. ABA therapy is proven to be the most effective method to teach children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities (read the research).

A Look at Skills and Behaviors Addressed During ABA Therapy

Applied behavior analysis techniques have been endorsed by the Surgeon General, the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Association for Science in Autism Research.

ABA can be used to teach a variety of skills and positive behaviors, including:

  • Communication
  • Positive peer interactions
  • Self-help skills (toileting, dressing, bathing, etc.)
  • Academics
  • Fine and gross motor skills
  • Play and leisure skills
  • Life skills
  • Vocational skills

ABA methodology is also effective in decreasing challenging behaviors such as noncompliance, tantrums, bed-wetting, feeding problems, aggression and self-injury.

Examining ABA Therapy Methods

Applied behavior analysis therapy is an application of basic behavioral practices to facilitate the development of language, social interactions, independent living skills and other aptitudes.

The applied behavior analysis techniques will range according to the child’s individual needs and challenges, but most often includes familiar methods such as:

  • Positive reinforcement
  • Teaching in small steps
  • Prompting
  • Repeated practice

It is common for a therapist in ABA therapy programs to break objectives into smaller tasks so a child can easier learn something that may be complex. Additionally, a determination is made with each behavior as to whether it is something like communication deficits, attention-seeking patterns or avoidance tendencies that is affecting the specific behavior or ability to perform a task or skill.

Applied behavior analysis training programs make it possible for you to see your child with autism reach his or her full potential. These skills can oftentimes be carried over into adulthood so he or she can lead a more fulfilling life. If you would like to know more about applied behavior analysis therapy, contact us today.

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ABA therapist with child

We’ve been working with a little guy. When we started, he had very limited vocal sounds, he would not attempt to feed himself, and his meals were supplemented with milk through a bottle. Today, he is asking for help, using three word approximations for “I want [item],” is eating his meals independently, is off a bottle, and is starting to eat new foods such as eggs and bananas. He has come a long way in such a short time and I cannot wait to see what the upcoming months have in store for him.

Stephanie Howard, BCBA Specialist, AHSS

shared this story on a 3yo male client

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