If your child has been recently diagnosed with autism, you may wonder if Applied Behavior Analysis is the proper therapy for them. Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, is an evidence-based approach to managing the symptoms of autism. Applied Behavior Analysis is based on the complex science of learning and behavior.
Applied Behavior Analysis therapy targets teaching new skills and behaviors while reducing problem behaviors. ABA therapy is individualized to support the needs of each child and can be used in various settings, including the home, school, and clinic, making it so effective and dynamic. Children learn skills they will carry with them for a lifetime. Results are long-lasting and work across populations and settings.
Applied Behavior Analysis is universally considered an effective program for autism, and research suggests that early intervention with ABA therapy can significantly improve cognitive, social, and communication skills. In many cases, children who receive ABA therapy make significant progress and can lead happy and successful lives.
Here are 7 reasons why you should consider Applied Behavior Analysis for your child:
1. Improved communication and social skills.
Applied Behavior Analysis can help improve communication and social skills in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. ABA therapy encourages children to speak and communicate in ways that fit them best. Children can meet their needs and actively participate in their communities through communication. Some of the ways children’s communication skills improve through ABA therapy include:
- Learning how to use gestures, such as pointing or waving, to communicate
- Using facial expressions and body language to communicate
- Imitating sounds, words, or phrases
- Combining sounds, words, and gestures to communicate
- Asking questions
- Answering questions
- Making comments
Children receiving ABA therapy can significantly improve their communication and social skills with consistent practice.
2. Improved behavior and reduced tantrums.
Applied Behavior Analysis can be highly effective in helping children with autism improve their behavior and reduce tantrums. ABA therapy focuses on modifying behavior over time so the child can learn coping skills and increase tolerance to situations that may trigger a tantrum.
While ABA therapy takes time and patience, the results can be well worth it for both the child and the family. In many cases, children who receive Applied Behavior Analysis will see a significant reduction in tantrums and an improvement in overall behavior.
One way ABA therapy can reduce tantrums in children with autism is by teaching them to identify early signs of frustration and anger. This can help them to avoid escalation into a full-blown tantrum. In addition, ABA therapy can teach children with autism strategies for recognizing and dealing with frustration and anger. For example, they may be instructed to take deep breaths or to walk away from the situation. By teaching children with autism these skills, ABA therapists can help to lower the frequency and severity of tantrums.
3. Increased independence and self-sufficiency.
ABA therapy utilizes positive reinforcement to increase desired behavior. ABA therapy is an effective intervention for children with autism, as it can help increase independence and self-sufficiency. Through ABA therapy, children can learn daily living skills that they will implement for the rest of their lives.
RBTs (Registered Behavior Technicians) and BCBAs (Board Certified Behavior Analysts) will work with children on the skills that are meaningful to their lives, such as dressing, grooming, and toileting. In addition, children may also learn skills related to communication, socialization, and academics. ABA therapy can help children with autism become more independent and self-sufficient, leading to a better quality of life.
To increase independence, ABA professionals will introduce self-care and daily living skills into your child’s routine. These may be the basics mentioned, like dressing and toileting, but they can also include activities like cleaning up after a meal, putting on shoes, and wearing a seatbelt. Another essential skill for children to learn is how to request a break in whichever way feels most comfortable. Asking for a break can help a child in many ways. It can prevent dysregulation, keep them safe and improve behavior. It seems like an overtly simple skill, but it’s essential.
Lastly, learning money skills is integral to gaining independence and growing up. This skill will be imperative for your child in and out of the community. ABA therapists can work with your child to help them understand money and how it works. This may also include practicing going out into the community and using money.
4. Enhanced skills and behaviors.
Through Applied Behavior Analysis, children can learn new skills and behaviors that can help them in various situations. For example, children who receive ABA therapy may learn how to wait appropriately in line, stop at a stop sign, or take the bus. The skills children with autism can learn through ABA therapy are virtually limitless. In addition, BCBAs and RBTs can customize ABA therapy to meet each child’s individual needs. As a result, it remains a highly effective tool for helping children to reach their full potential.
Here are some of the real-world skills your child will practice during ABA therapy:
- Social skills
- Self-help skills
- Play and leisure skills
- Visual skills
- Communication skills
These new skills are acquired by breaking activities into small, simple steps. Each step is taught individually and practiced until mastered. Skills can be as simple as replicating a hand gesture to completing a household chore. RBTs measure the child’s progress by collecting data through observation every session. The data informs the BCBA where the child excels and which areas may require additional support.
5. Individualized to meet each child’s needs.
ABA treatment is highly individualized to meet each child’s needs. The BCBA and RBT working with your child will do everything to ensure the behavioral program they design is tailored to the child’s specific needs. Applied Behavior Analysis will never be a one-size-fits-all approach. Every child on the spectrum is unique and will have special needs. The BCBA and RBT will work with you and your child to identify those needs and design an effective treatment plan to address them. With ABA, your child can make significant progress in skills and behaviors, leading to a better quality of life for everyone involved.
6. Highly trained and experienced therapists.
ABA therapists are highly trained in the science of behavior, and they use this knowledge to help their clients change harmful or maladaptive behavior. A significant part of ABA therapy is data collection. ABA therapists constantly observe their clients and take detailed notes on the frequency, intensity, and duration of target behaviors. This data is used to develop a treatment plan tailored specifically to the individual client. ABA therapists use various techniques to teach new skills and reduce problem behavior, including reinforcement, prompts, and shaping. ABA therapists work closely with their clients and their families to ensure that treatment goals are being met.
BCBAs must have at least a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field. Many ABA therapists also have a master’s degree or doctorate. To become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, one must complete an accredited graduate-level program, pass a credentialing exam, and have several years of professional experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities. The Registered Behavior Technician certification is also available for those who have completed a certification program and passed a credentialing exam. ABA therapists receive ongoing training throughout their careers to keep up with new research and developments in the field.
7. ABA Therapy continues to evolve.
Applied Behavior Analysis is a growing science that continues to expand and improve. ABA changes with trends and adopts new principles and techniques as they become available. This means that ABA therapy is constantly evolving and becoming more effective. ABA therapy is essential in empowering children with autism, and it will continue to grow as more is learned about this complex disorder.
Applied Behavior Analysis and ABA Centers of Florida
ABA Therapy is considered the gold standard for managing the symptoms of autism. It is based on decades of science and continues to evolve and grow as a field. Children on the spectrum learn skills that will last them a lifetime with ABA therapy, impacting their futures profoundly. The developmental outcomes of Applied Behavior Analysis are long-lasting and work across populations and settings.
ABA Centers of Florida can help your family on their autism journey. Our ABA professionals get on your child’s level to ensure treatment works for them! If you have a child that has been recently diagnosed with autism, consider reaching out to us to see if ABA therapy is the right fit for your family. For more information about ABA Centers of Florida and how we serve neurodivergent families across the state, call us at (772) 773-1975 or visit us at ABACentersFL.com.