Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)
Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is an evidence-based approach to teaching socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree. ABA is derived from the principles of learning and is used to teach any set of skills or behaviors that are in need of change. ABA uses objective and reliable data collection systems to monitor behavior change and individualized to each child based off his/her specific needs. Some children do not learn the same as other children their age and may need alternative teaching methods in order to learn. ABA is a teaching method that focuses on the principles of learning and motivation to teach the child to want to learn and to “Learn how to Learn”. In an ABA program, motivation and positive reinforcement are key factors in teaching the child socially significant behaviors.
How ABA works:
A professional, trained and experienced in Applied Behavior Analysis, will complete an evaluation on the individual. This evaluation is often a skills assessment or functional behavioral assessment to determine the child’s current skill level and function of any maladaptive behaviors (tantrums, physical aggression, self injurious behavior, etc). From there the function of specific behaviors can be determined and goals for teaching can be established. Positive reinforcement is used to increase the duration and frequency of appropriate behaviors, while reduction procedures and replacement behaviors are put in place to decrease/eliminate maladaptive behaviors. Data collection procedures are put into place for each targeted behavior and analyzed by the ABA team. Trained therapists will implement the ABA therapy and a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) will act as the consultant and oversee the program in order to make appropriate data based decisions on the programs. The parents, therapists and consultant will work together as a team to discuss the data, current targets, and future goals.
An intense ABA program can be implemented in the home and/or a clinic setting. Many families will choose to implement a full in-home program, where the consultant and therapists will come into the child’s home to work with the child. This allows for teaching in the child’s natural environment and allows for the consultant to train the parents on how to work with the child outside of therapy. Other parents will bring their child to a clinic for ABA therapy by trained professionals. Some parents will incorporate both environments into the child’s therapy program. The location of therapy is determined by the parent’s goals for their child.
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