What Is ABA Therapy for Autism?

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy is a learned discipline of behavior analysis. It is a type of therapy that develops social, communication, and learning skills through concrete fortification.

ABA therapy belongs to a complex of principles that focus on how behavior works, what influence behavior has on the environment, what place learning takes, and so on. The term behavior refers to the knowledge and abilities needed to communicate, play, and live. While these principles affect everyone each day, they can be attached systematically through interferences to help individuals learn and apply new skills in their daily lives.

psychology autism children

ABA therapy for life

Vcuautismcenter.org demonstrates the principles and methods of ABA therapy can be used to maintain individuals in different ways:

– to increment behaviors, such as attending to a speaker or greeting an equal;

– to teach students new skills and knowledge, such as using a spoon and so on;

– to retain behaviors, for example, reading words that students have learned previously;

– to help a student colligate or transfer action from one situation to another;

– to reduce interfering behavior.

Benefits of ABA therapy

– It’s a scientifically proven method

– Helps to gain social skills

– Improves emotional behavior

– Boosts intellectual aptitude

– Makes more independent

Autism spectrum disorder criteria

ABA therapy is one of the most widespread therapies for children with ASD. ASD – autism spectrum, also known as an autism spectrum disorder, is a range of mental disorders of the neurodevelopmental type. It contains autism and Asperger syndrome. 

People with the autistic spectrum often have problems with social communication and interaction and may exhibit limited, repetitious patterns of behavior, interests, or activities.

The autism spectrum may be caused by different factors, such as older parents, a family history of autism, and certain genetic conditions. It is expected that between 64% and 91% of the risk is due to family history.

Symptoms are usually recognized between one and two years of age, says wikipedia.org. However, according to the information from goodtherapy.org the signs of AS may start showing in children’s behavior from 6 months. The differences can appear in motor skills, communication, and social skills. Parents might notice any of the following signs of autism:

– biting or kicking;

– repetitive actions like placing toys in a line or playing games the same way each time;

– dislike of change in routines;

– difficulties with teamwork.

To identify slight forms of ASD is harder. The warnings to pay attention to:

– friends’ making difficulty;

– clumsy gestures;

– the tendency for long conversations;

– high sensitiveness to light, sound, or other agitation.

What Is ABA therapy training?

Because autism occurs at an early age, it is crucial to begin the treatment when children are younger than age five.

ABA therapy training is different for every child. Website webmd.com suggests a simple way to use ABA, and says that ABA therapy training is the most effective if you get training in it by yourself. Thus, you will have to practice this treatment. Then, you can teach your child and continuously reinforce positive behaviors. To get the most significant profit from ABA, your child will need extensive one-on-one therapy for 20 to 40 hours per week. The only disadvantage of it is that this type of treatment is expensive.

Chop.edu  also demonstrates a rich and very detailed scheme of how this treatment works. We are going to consider the one that is going to contain all the possible details. 

ABA therapy techniques

First of all, you will have to get a functional behavior assessment (FBA), a consultation from a therapist trained in ABA. The therapist will ask about your child’s talents and abilities, and the things that prevent developing them. 

The therapist will have to spend some time interacting with your child to make observations about their behavior, communication level, and skills. He might also visit your home and your child’s school to watch your child’s behavior during typical daily activities. For the treatment, ABA therapists will choose specific interventions that fit your child’s needs.

After the initial consultation, your child’s therapist will create a formal plan for therapy that will be based on observations. This plan will contain your child’s unique needs and include fixed treatment goals.

The goals generally relate to decreasing problematic or harmful behavior, such as tantrums, and developing or improving communication and other skills.

Plan also includes specific strategies that family members, teachers, and the therapist might use to achieve treatment goals.

There are different types of ABA therapy that might depend on your child’s age, areas of challenge, and other factors.

1) Early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) is suggested for children younger than five. It involves a high, individualized course of study allotted to train communication, teamwork, and practical and adaptive skills.

2) Discrete trial training concentrates on teaching abilities through structured task completion and rewards.

3) Pivotal response training allows a child to take the lead in a learning activity, though the therapist often suggests a few choices based on specific skills.

4) Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is based on play-based activities that combine several different goals at once. 

5) Verbal behavior interventions might help your child to improve communication skills.

ABA therapy also depends on family members to help increase desired behavior outside of therapy. Your child’s therapist will give you all the instructions on how to improve the work they do in treatment. He also will teach you how to avoid types of reinforcement, such as giving in to tantrums, and so on.

Since your child continues treatment, the therapist will continue to examine his strides and analyze which strategies are acceptable and where your child may recover from different treatment tactics.

The final result of treatment mainly depends on your child’s abilities. At the end of the therapy, a child might show more interest in people who surround him. He might communicate with other people more effectively, learn to ask for things he wants (toy or food, for example), be more focused at school reducing or even stopping self-harming behavior, and so on. 

ABA therapy cost

According to the information from beaconhealthoptions.com, the average cost for ABA therapy for autism is $60,000 for each year. The total cost for four years of treatment (typically from 3 until entering the school at age 6 or 7): $240,000. Site special-learning.com  also provides detailed information on ABA therapy costs.

ABA therapy apps

Today it is easy to find applications that can be used for the applied behavior analysis. Modern development of technologies allows to use it for children and for grown ups. As for now, there are several very good apps that you may find useful for yourself.

1. First Then Visual Schedule. Parents definitely know how important positive reinforcement is since they have to constantly support positive behavior of their kids. Good news, they no longer need to think of the way to do that since this app allows them to provide proper support for their children instead of parents. It teaches the young ones which action should go first and supports their choice. It is fun and children learn how structuring and scheduling works. The app is especially relevant for those whose children have communication issues of any kind. App is available on App store and Google Play.

2. Dexteria. Motor skills are very important for children and grown ups. No matter how old are you, it is critical to control your little moves so you won’t drop your cup in a very unpleasant moment. Good thing there is an app that can help you avoid that! Dexteria is designed to train your small motor skills. You can turn your training into fun.  The app is available on App Store.

3. ABA Therapy Aid. Even though this app does not look fun, it surely has everything needed for the development of behavior, especially for children that have communication issues and/or show signs of autism. This app literally reflects science: it has all necessary sections that would allow you or your child to train the behavior and acquire new skills. The app is designed as a treatment environment and reflects everything that a professional psychologist would do. The app is mainly designed for children and we are not sure if grown ups would find it useful. Anyway, available on Google Play for a tryout.

4. iCommunicate. This app is full of different activities that will make your child entertained for quite a long time. Developers state that it is especially useful and was designed for bigger screens (iPad). You can customize the app and it is available in the number of languages so this might be a good choice. Despite being filled with tons of useful things, users did not rate it well. As we have tried, it has all necessary features that would definitely be helpful for you. 

5. Stories2Learn. We really find this app entertaining. Even if you do not think you are a good writer, this app will help you feel that. It allows to create stories of different kind using any visual additions that you would think is necessary. It is fun for children and it is a good way to spend your time with kids. The app itself allows to work with literacy issues and understanding of the conversational context. We really think it would be a fun thing to try. Available on Play Market.

6. Behavior Tracker Pro. This app might seem outdated but it has all necessary features that concern the behavioral analysis. Graphs, schedules, reinforcements and visual representations: everything you need is available in this app. It is specifically designed for iPhones so it is available for your checkup on App Store.

This is definitely not the full list of apps that are available for your consideration but you may start with them and find similar apps that suit your needs.

ABA therapy near me

Of course, it is possible to practice ABA therapy at home. Some children get better results with home ABA because they feel more comfy and safe in their usual surroundings. It also makes it lighter for them to learn and develop specific life skills, such as getting dressed, holding a spoon, using the bathroom, and so on. These sites suggest the best guides for parents to in-home ABA therapy programs autismspeaks.org , asatonline.org, childmind.org. 

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy is an excellent way to help your child to overcome autism spectrum disorder (ASD) even staying at home. But you should remember that ABA therapy at home can be useful only with the help of a professional, leastways in the beginning, as well as that ABA is barely one of many ASD treatments, and it can not work for every child.

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