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WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT ABA (APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS)

Applied Behavior Analysis , or ABA therapy, is a therapy designed to improve social skills and adaptive learning skills in children and adults with behavioral disorders. It is a well-known form of therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Our company and its partner companies provide trained professional teams that are experts in ABA therapy near you. Contact our location in Torrance, CA, now.

HOW DOES ABA THERAPY WORK?

ABA therapy works by using a system of rewards and consequences to achieve measurable positive change. Research has shown that it is most successful when patients undergo treatment for more than 20 hours per week and, in children with autism, begin treatment before the age of four. However, individuals of all ages can benefit from ABA therapy.

Parents can expect their child’s treatment regimes to begin with a full evaluation of the client’s current behavior. The clinician will determine which behaviors need to be addressed, and which skills need to be taught. He or she will then work with the child and his or her family to set goals and establish ways to track improvements.

The Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) will use scientifically proven theories of learning and behavior to develop a personalized treatment plan. He or she will evaluate the patient’s progress frequently and suggest changes to ensure the individual continues to learn and improve.

WHAT IS ABA THERAPY FOR AUTISM?

ABA therapy for autism is one of the most common uses of this form of behavior analysis. It focuses on reducing problematic behaviors and teaching more socially positive behaviors. Parents should note that while ABA cannot technically “cure” autism, it can reduce symptoms to the point where some children may be diagnosed as neurotypical following their treatment.

HOW LONG DOES ABA THERAPY LAST?

There are several procedures commonly employed by local ABA therapists, but each patient’s treatment plan will be a little different. Depending on what behaviors are being targeted, the therapist might employ a combination of task analysis, chaining, prompting, fading, generalization, shaping, and reinforcement.

A therapist might use a task analysis to help break down difficult tasks into steps or component parts and chaining to teach the child how to perform each step successfully, for example. He or she may also use vocal, visual, gestural, positional, or physical prompts to encourage correct responses from the patient. The goal of prompting is to provide the cue, teach the desired response, and then fade the prompt to ensure that the patient doesn’t become overly dependent on it.

Generalization is targeted from the beginning of therapy to ensure the patient is learning to respond to a variety of people, in a variety of locations, and across a variety of things.

Shaping is an alternative to prompts and fading that slowly changes problematic behaviors into desirable behaviors, or to slowly teach a new skill. It may involve simulated computer tasks or video modeling.

What these and other ABA procedures have in common is that they are based on the philosophy of operant conditioning. This refers to the way that seemingly voluntary behaviors are often controlled by their potential consequences. If a child with behavior problems sees during therapy that there are positive consequences for exhibiting desirable behaviors, such as receiving a reward, and negative consequences for undesirable behaviors, such as the withholding of that reward, it can change the way he or she behaves in daily life.

WHAT IS THE EVIDENCE THAT ABA THERAPY WORKS?

The evidence that ABA therapy works can be found in abundance in scientific literature. The best-known and most widely cited literature review on its efficacy in treating ASD is the 2001 title Educating Children with Autism.

A more recent report published in Pediatrics and undertaken by the Council on Children With Disabilities and co-authors Scott M. Myers and Chris Plauche Johnson found that “children who receive early intensive behavioral treatment have been shown to make substantial, sustained gains in…adaptive behavior as well as some measures of social behavior” (3). While there are still some who object to the use of ABA, most experts view it as a safe and effective way to manage potentially damaging or destructive symptoms of ASD and other psychological disorders.

WHERE DO I FIND ABA SERVICES?

You can find ABA services in most major cities. Don’t just perform a Google search for “ABA therapy near me” and indiscriminately pick the first provider on the list, though. Instead, do some preliminary research to make sure the therapist will be a good fit.

WHO PROVIDES ABA SERVICES?

Parents should only sign their children up for treatment with a qualified Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and the Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) working on his or her team. Don’t be afraid to ask about certifications and experience. A qualified BCBA will have at least a master’s degree in psychology or behavior analysis, national certification, and a license to practice, if required by the state, and should be willing to provide his or her credentials.

FINDING AN ABA PROVIDER

You should ask questions about the therapist’s training, credentials and experience working with children on the autism spectrum, but don’t stop there. Ask what kind of approach the therapist uses, what the sessions will look like, and how long they will take. Find out how involved the parents will be in evaluations and treatment and look for an ABA therapist that encourages, or even requires, parental involvement.

WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD I ASK?

You should ask questions about the therapist’s training, credentials and experience working with children on the autism spectrum, but don’t stop there. Ask what kind of approach the therapist uses, what the sessions will look like, and how long they will take. Find out how involved the parents will be in evaluations and treatment and look for an ABA therapist that encourages, or even requires, parental involvement.

HOW MUCH DOES ABA THERAPY COST?

Parents may wonder how much ABA therapy costs, but there’s no hard-and-fast answer to this question. Many factors influence the overall cost of initiating services for a child with autism. They include how the program is structured, what services it provides, how long the child must participate, and whether the therapist takes the family’s insurance. Home ABA therapists typically charge more than clinical therapists, and specialized schools that use ABA often charge substantial tuition fees.

ABA THERAPY PROGRAMS CAN HELP

Parents thinking to themselves, “I’ve learned enough. I’m ready to find ABA therapy near me for my child” should now have all the information they’ll require to make an informed decision. Although not every child with behavioral problems will be a good candidate for ABA therapy, those with ASD, ODD, or ADHD can almost always benefit from this form of behavior analysis.

Find a reputable local ABA provider close to the child’s home or school that specializes in ABA therapy to get started. Contact our office in Torrance today. We’re located at 357 Van Ness Way, Suite 90.