A closer look at ABA Therapy
ABA therapy is a flexible therapy model that targets behavior in ways that best meet the individual’s needs. One of the most intriguing aspects of ABA therapy is that it can be used in many different locations. Because ABA therapy can be conducted wherever the child is, such as in the home or community, results transfer into day to day life.
ABA therapy is useful not only in the educational setting but also in everyday life. ABA can be used with children in a one-on-one therapy situation or as part of a group therapy model.
The Benefits of Positive Behavior Reinforcement
Children with developmental difficulties face negative reinforcement daily. They do not have full control over their behavior and so it seems they are always in trouble. Positive behavior reinforcement allows us to notice the child behaving well; we can then provide something they value as a reward. Over time, this pattern encourages the development of positive behavior.
The process is simple and easily understood by both the child and the caregiver. The therapist identifies goal behavior. Each time the child executes this behavior they receive a reward. The reward is something specific to the child. What one individual finds meaningful will not interest another.
Some examples of common rewards are access to a favorite book or toy or some time on the playground. Continued use of positive reinforcement encourages positive behavior. Over time, the behaviors become ingrained habits and long-term behavior changes develop.
Consequences of Poor Behavior
Of course, it would be unrealistic to expect good behavior 100 percent of the time. There will be many times when bad behavior takes over before the positive changes take hold. ABA therapy uses a program called A-B-C to help recognize and reduce bad behavior.
In this program, the A stands for antecedent, which is what happens before the behavior occurs. B stands for behavior and is the reaction, or lack of reaction, to the antecedent. Finally, there is C, the consequence. This is what happens after the behavior. If it was the desired behavior, the child receives positive reinforcement. Inappropriate behavior does not receive any response or reaction at all.
With continued positive reinforcement for appropriate behavior and no response to negative behavior, the child learns effective ways of interacting with others.
What To Expect From ABA Therapy
ABA therapy is not a cookie-cutter process. Each child needs to have his needs and abilities assessed before implementing the program. Once the therapy program is underway, ongoing assessments are conducted to gauge progress.
Treatment goals are an important part of the program. Goals should cover a range of skills, not focus on one facet of life. Common goal areas include communication, motor skills, academic progress, and self-care. Each skill is broken down into measurable steps from very simple to more complex. Data is collected from each therapy session to track progress, and this information is shared with caregivers.
Implementing ABA Therapy
One reason ABA therapy is so effective is that it is easy to implement. All individuals who work with the child on a regular basis can use the therapy model. Parents and other family members receive training in this therapy model, creating more opportunities for reward. Because poor behavior results in no response, the caregiver is not stuck in a cycle of doling out punishment, which creates a greater struggle with the child, which creates more negative behavior. ABA therapy allows the family to break out of this cycle and have a more peaceful home life.
Is ABA Therapy Effective?
ABA therapy is considered a best-practice form of treatment for autism. It is evidence-based, meaning that it has stood up to scientific tests that prove its value and effectiveness. The greatest value of ABA therapy comes from intensive, long-term therapy. This translates to between 25 and 40 hours of therapy a week, for up to three years.
What Type of ABA Therapy Do We Provide?
ABA therapy has different components and we provide all facets of care. Direct care is one-on-one treatment. The goal of direct care is to help the child reach a level of mastery with life skills and learning so he will be able to live an independent life. Direct care therapy includes education and support services for the entire family.
Behavioral interventions are the building blocks of ABA therapy. We provide behavior interventions, which involves increasing positive behaviors and decreasing negative behaviors using a scientifically designed approach.
We also provide social skills training, which happens in a small group setting. In social skills groups, your child will learn to behave appropriately in a range of situations. They learn and eventually model appropriate behavior in a fun environment.
What To Expect
The initial phase of treatment begins with the intake process. An intake consultation is conducted to discuss what issues your child is facing, particular concerns you have and discuss what you can expect from ABA therapy. If it is determined that ABA therapy is a good fit for your family’s situation we will work to determine if your insurance company will cover the treatment.
After the financial arrangements are sorted out, we will conduct a thorough assessment of your child. We use this time to determine his or her skill level to better develop a personalized treatment plan. We generally conduct the assessment process in the home environment. The assessment is conducted by a specialist trained in behavior analysis, and allows us to create the best plan for both your child and your entire family.
Once the assessment is complete the therapy begins. Behaviors noted during the assessment are targeted for treatment, and progress is monitored and reviewed regularly. As a parent or caregiver, you are a vital part of the treatment process. ABA therapy sets goals and measures data to ensure we are on the right track.
Selecting a Service Provider
It is important to understand who exactly will be working with your child. Many ABA therapy groups are owned by equity groups and other for-profit agencies. In this scenario, your child is a product, something used to generate profit for the company.
You want to work with a group that puts a passion for treatment above everything. ABA therapy agencies owned and run by clinicians understand that quality treatment should be the priority. When you work with a clinician-run company, such as Achievement Behavior Services, you can feel confident that all treatment decisions are based on the needs of your child, not profit margins.