What is ABA Therapy?

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Applied Behavioral Analysis Therapy

Applied behavioral analysis (ABA therapy) is a type of therapy that provides a focus on building skills across all areas of development, especially social, communication, and adaptive. ABA therapy also provides an additional focus on helping children to reduce their challenging and/or repetitive behaviors.

These skills are taught through the use of effective reinforcement strategies, as well as building targets based off of the hierarchy of skill development. Each skill is broken down using task analysis.

Goals for each child’s ABA therapy program are developed individually based upon the results of the autism assessments, behavioral observation, clinical input of the team, and the family’s goals. Each child’s ABA therapy program is custom built.

Social and communication skills are two goals that are worked on by finding and increasing the use of effective communication. A variety of individualized programs are developed to increase the foundational skills needed for social and communication development including but not limited to: imitation, ability to follow receptive instruction, receptive and expressive labels, development of appropriate play skills, conversation and many more.

Adaptive skills are targeted through the development of fine motor skills, tolerance to non-preferred activities, as well as increasing independence with daily routines. Potty training is a goal that can be achieved through daily routines and broken down into smaller objectives to achieve success.

Challenging Behaviors are addressed in each child’s ABA therapy program through the use of a functional behavior assessment (FBA) and a behavior intervention plan (BIP). These behaviors are assessed by looking at what happens before and after the behaviors to determine the function of the behaviors occurring. A BIP is then created to help reduce the undesired or challenging behaviors by increasing appropriate replacement behaviors and decreasing the reinforcement of the unwanted and challenging behaviors.

All goals and BIPs are reviewed and analyzed on a regular basis to ensure effectiveness. Any goal or BIP that is not effective for the child will be modified based upon data gathered to help increase desired skills.

Family Guidance is therapy that can include all family members involved in your child’s care. During these sessions, the team supervisor will be working with the family by educating them on Autism as well as teaching tools needed to achieve new desired skills through the use of ABA Therapy. The supervisor will provide support with regards to what the family feels is most important during that time. Family guidance is an opportunity to navigate success across environments.

ABA therapy is supported by a plethora of research and continues to be one of the most recommend forms of treatment for children with an autism diagnosis.