Helping Your Child Achieve Independence With ABA Therapy
Every child is a blessing. Each individual child has their own unique talents, and they also have their own unique challenges. Your child’s challenges may seem more apparent when you have a child on the spectrum. Every year doctors diagnose another 200,000 children with autism. While the situation may seem scary at first, most children with autism grow up to live perfectly normal lives. Most kids with autism are simply a little different. With the right tools, your child can develop to the best of their capabilities. There are new methods out there with a lot of promise.
One of the most popular new methods is Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy. If your child learns differently, they need a program to help reach them and the way they learn. ABA therapy is designed with this in mind. Here is how ABA therapy is helping your child achieve independence.
So what is ABA therapy? Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy uses the latest research in behavioral sciences to help children who struggle to fit in learn appropriate social behavior. Children on the spectrum tend to struggle with communication and behavior. They may be at the same level cognitively as their peers, but their communication and behavioral problems can hold them back. Tackling these issues helps them progress with the rest of their class. The most commonly targeted areas in ABA therapy include communication skills, hygiene, social skills, motor skills, and cognitive skills.
At its most basic form, ABA therapy focuses on stimuli and responses. The stimuli could be a personal thought, external stimulations, such as light, or a command or question from another person. Therapists will examine how the child responds to different stimuli. Once they respond, positive responses are rewarded with positive reinforcement.
ABA therapy gives a special child the individual care that they may require. The child is not forced to learn these things on their own in a crowded classroom. While teachers may be equipped to manage all types of children, they can’t provide individual care.
How ABA Therapy Can Increase Independence
1. Improved Communication
Many children with autism struggle with how to communicate with others. They may scream and act inappropriately when frustrated or confronted. ABA therapists are trained to help teach children on the spectrum the right way to speak to others. Instead of getting frustrated, they will learn how to use their words. The child will be able to use these new skills when talking to people in everyday situations. This will be helpful with authority figures, and it will help them make friends.
2. Improved Confidence
ABA therapy relies primarily on positive reinforcement. When the child does something correctly, they are rewarded. They can be rewarded with treats or kind words. Either way, the child will hear a lot of positive reinforcement every day they go to therapy. This positive reinforcement can make the child feel smart, accomplished, useful, and confident in themselves. This confidence will help them approach schoolwork with a positive attitude. They will also go into social situations knowing that they deserve to be there.
3. Creates Higher Expectations
Unfortunately, many children with autism are set to a very low standard. People assume that since they learn differently from other kids that they shouldn’t be held to the same standards. However, this expectation only prevents adults from encouraging the child to reach their full potential. In ABA therapy, therapists are trained to learn a child’s limits. Most of the time, it is much higher than we anticipated. With higher expectations of the child, the child will start to adjust to those hight expectations. Even if it takes some time, you will see a significant difference with time. The child will learn that they are more than their condition. They will also learn that they can be anything they want to be, just like every other kid. They will take these high expectations for themselves with them for the rest of their lives.
4. Training For the Parents
Autistic children aren’t the only ones who need training. Parents of autistic children could also use training to learn how to best communicate with their children. When your child goes through ABA therapy, you’ll get to learn what the therapist does to be effective. Most therapists will send progress reports home with some tips and tricks. You can also ask to schedule time with the therapist to go over specific methods that seem to work.
5. Better Academic Performance
The lessons that your child will learn in ABA therapy will transfer over to their performance in school. The increased communication skills and better behavior will result in them focusing on the task at hand instead of their inner struggles.
Tips For Getting the Best Results
ABA therapy can get expensive. You don’t want to spend the money and time without getting the best results. There are a couple of things that you can do to get the most out of the therapy.
Firstly, you should start therapy as soon as possible. After a time, certain bad behavior becomes a habit. You don’t want to let your child continues to practice these bad habits. The longer they have bad habits, the harder it will be to break them.
You also want to pick a therapist your child seems to connect with. When your child feels a connection with their therapist, they will respond better to the treatment. They will also be more inclined to listen to the therapist’s direction.
Children all have potential. For children with special needs, you may need to work a little harder to pull that potential out of them. ABA therapy does just that. Your child will learn through positive reinforcement how to behave appropriately. Almost every child can benefit from increased individual attention. For children on the spectrum, it makes a very big difference. That’s not to say that the method is not without its shortcomings. However, it’s one of the most effective methods available today.