When an individual receives a diagnosis, parents typically search for ways to help the individual stay on track and move towards positive development. For those who don’t exhibit speech, there is speech therapy. For those that require help with motor acuity there is occupational therapy. But what about individuals who exhibit challenging or difficult behaviors? Or individuals who need to further develop a wide range of skills? This is where Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, can be beneficial.
The goal of ABA therapy is to increase positive behaviors and reduce the frequency of maladaptive behaviors. Very simply put, if there is a behavior that is inappropriate or undesired, it is replaced with one that is not only appropriate and desired, but will also help the individual get their needs met. Two of the most important aspects we focus on in ABA is working to improve the quality of life of the individuals we work with and their families and to target socially significant behaviors.
Making it Practical
Adopting to Real-Life
In our practice, our clinical staff practice ABA so that individuals not only learn appropriate, socially significant behaviors, but also learn how to generalize them across different scenarios and with different people. If an individual is only taught colors on flashcards, they will have difficulty applying them to real-world objects. If an individual only reads social stories on tooth brushing and does not actively try doing so, they might not be competent in doing so.
Therefore, ABA aims to teach positive and adaptive skills that can be used in daily life in order to reduce problematic behaviors, through behavioral principles and strategies. Additionally, ABA emphasizes community integration. Individuals are taught more functional ways to meet their behavioral, sensory, independence, and self-care needs.
Transitioning into Life
Behaviors change as individuals age, encounter different events, or transition throughout the various life stages. One of the greatest benefits of ABA is that it can be applied across the life span to address behaviors, deficits, and skills at any age and developmental level. Individuals can learn to tolerate transitions and changes, develop self-care skills, attention and communication skills, socialization skills, and so much through ABA therapy.
Not only for Autism
Did you know that ABA is not only effective for individuals with autism? It can be applied to individuals with or without a diagnosis, who exhibit inappropriate and undesired behaviors and need to develop more appropriate and desired replacement skills and acquire new skills.
Making it Personal
Our practice sees many different individuals each day, each with their own goals and individualized treatment plans. As an individualized treatment approach, each individual is assessed and evaluated in order to develop a treatment plan that plays on their strengths and helps to overcome weaknesses and deficits.
Let us clarify, an individualized treatment approach means that we develop treatment plans specific to each individual patient. Not that we only work with the patient. Our practice embodies a systemic approach, incorporating parents/caregivers into the treatment, as well as other providers and family members to best meet the needs of each patient. Parent/caregiver involvement is a key component to our delivery of service. Our practice stresses parent/caregiver involvement and provides parent/caregiver sessions to educate and teach skills. This allows for increased parent/caregiver confidence, skill and strategy development, generalization of treatment, and better treatment outcome.
It is needless to say that ABA has many benefits. To learn more, download the below PDF document.