What’s ABA Therapy: All You Need to Know

Applied Behavior Analysis

So, what’s ABA therapy? As you might have understood from the title above, ABA stands for Applied Behavior Analysis. Essentially, this type of therapy is dedicated to understanding how behavior works. It also helps us understand the effects the environment can have on behavior, and it also studies how learning takes place. 

This therapy serves as a way to understand and aid autistic children. A variety of studies recommend ABA therapy in different variations. If you want to learn more about ABA therapy, you can visit this website for additional information. 

How Does It Work?

In order to understand and modify different behaviors, ABA therapy utilizes different techniques. An important thing to mention is that Applied Behavior Analysis therapy can be adapted to a person’s specific needs, making it flexible depending on a particular situation. 

Another notable thing is the fact that this form of therapy can be performed anywhere: at home, at school, and pretty much anywhere else. And lastly, it works both as one-on-one therapy and in groups. So, it’s very flexible all in all.

ABA therapy uses different tactics and strategies, namely, positive reinforcement and A-B-C, which stands for Antecedent, Behavior, and Consequence.

Positive Reinforcement

A central tactic in ABA therapy is positive reinforcement, and it’s no wonder why. Positive reinforcement is a great way to encourage and inspire children to grow and learn. Namely, when a particular behavior is praised and rewarded, children are more likely to repeat that kind of behavior. In the long run, this influences a positive change in a child’s behavior. 

The first step in ABA therapy is identifying a goal behavior. Each time the behavior is skillfully performed, the patient gets rewarded. The reward should be something the individual will appreciate, be it praise or an actual gift. As we’ve established, continuous positive behavior will result in positive change. 

The A-B-C’s

To understand behavior, we need to go over its antecedents and consequences. Antecedents involve whatever occurs before a specific behavior, while consequences represent what happens after. Both of these are equally important for behavior, and they’re also central to ABA therapy. So, let’s go over the A-B-C’s:

  • Antecedent – This represents the action occurring before the behavior in question. It can be the catalyst for the behavior, both in verbal and physical form. It can come from the person themself, as well as from others and the general environment.
  • Behavior – The second step is the resulting behavior. It can represent both the response to the antecedent and the lack of it as well. It can be present both as a verbal reaction or an action to do something.  
  • Consequence – The target behavior provides a consequence to it. In turn, the consequence directly depends on the behavior, which means it can be positive reinforcement or a lack of reinforcement. 

The A-B-C’s help us understand behavior by analyzing what influences the behavior, as well as what the behavior itself influences. 

What’s an ABA Therapist? 

ABA for children is crucial for making progress in positive behavior, with an ABA therapist to ensure it all goes well. Part of the job of an ABA therapist is to research and analyze their patient’s behavior tendencies and patterns of behavior in different situations and environments. 

This form of analysis is vital when it comes to positive change through positive reinforcement. An ABA kids therapist focuses on working with children diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). However, this ABA therapy isn’t only restricted to individuals with autism. 

ABA therapy is actually beneficial to patients with developmental disabilities, as well as patients who have suffered traumatic brain injuries. ABA therapists usually work in settings such as schools, hospitals, government agencies, and community centers. They can provide different things, usually starting with setting the treatment goals and objectives, providing ABA therapy, and determining the progress their patient is making. 

To become an ABA therapist, the candidate needs an undergraduate degree, a graduate degree, a valid license, relevant certification, as well as formal training. 

How It All Functions 

The therapy program is under the guidance of a behavior analyst, and the program is individually customized, which means it’s personalized for each individual’s needs, skills, preferences, age group, and family situation.

In order for this to work, the children are assessed to determine their abilities and preferences, which are then used to create a treatment program and goals. Parents or guardians are also asked for their input, such as goals and preferences. So, the sessions are usually centered around the following areas:

  • Social skills
  • Communication and language skills
  • Motor skills
  • Self-care 
  • Play and leisure
  • Learning and academics 

Following that, these skill areas are divided into easy-to-follow steps. The ABA therapist approaches each step one at a time, starting with simpler ones and moving on to complex ones later. For the sake of determining progress, data is collected in every therapy session, which helps with working towards current goals and moving on to new ones once the time comes. The whole process is once again followed by the behavior analyst, who talks to parents and therapy staff to stay informed about the progress and plan ahead. 

Is ABA Therapy Covered by Insurance? 

ABA is often, but not always, covered by insurance. In fact, most private health insurance companies cover services involving ABA therapy. Whether this type of therapy is covered by insurance can also depend on where you live and your insurance plan. 

Does ABA Therapy Work?

ABA therapy has a high success rate. However, some children may require a longer treatment time. In addition, the results may not be immediate since children may need time to adjust. However, the consensus for many experts is that ABA therapy is an excellent way for children with autism to learn and acquire different skills.

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