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WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ABA THERAPY?
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy can help people overcome challenges associated with social interaction, communication, and functional-living skills. Behavior therapists work one-on-one with their clients and use positive reinforcement to help individuals learn the functional, academic, social, and behavioral skills needed to thrive during their day-to-day lives
ABA a leading method of therapy for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as the approaches are evidence-based and individualized programs for each unique child or person. Therapists also recognize the benefits of ABA therapy for those with anxiety disorders, brain injuries, anger issues, and substance abuse.
If you or someone you know has autism and wants to learn more about how ABA can help, contact our office in Vancouver, WA to discover how our experienced team of therapists and clinicians can help!
WHAT ARE THE GOALS OF ABA THERAPY?
ABA therapy aims to enable people with autism to eliminate certain behaviors that are not socially acceptable–ones that may be disrupting their ability to thrive at home, at school, and out in the community–and replace them with ones that are. One example could be if someone has regular outbursts, the goal would be to stop that behavior and replace it with another behavior instead, much like using their words to express their frustration or anger, or learning to take a break in a quiet space to decompress rather than having an emotional outburst.
ABA therapists can also help individuals focus on basic functional skills, like learning to share or brushing teeth in the morning. When a client shows a positive skill, positive reinforcement of praises or a reward always follow to encourage continued improvement and growth.
The overall goal for people with autism is to learn life skills and functions that will help them become contributing and productive members of society as they grow into adulthood. ABA therapy will help to teach behaviors that are more expected. It will also help people control their emotions and have a more positive school and work experience.
HOW DOES APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS WORK?
ABA is a flexible treatment option that changes behaviors by encouraging appropriate responses and reducing maladaptive behaviors. It can be offered as an in-home option or provided in schools and communities. There are ABA specialists located near every major city.
Kids with autism learn skills they can use in their everyday lives. Professionals might use one-on-one or group sessions. Positive reinforcement is the core teaching tool. The Autism Speaks organization explains, “When a behavior is followed by something that is valued, a person is more likely to repeat that behavior.”
Therapists identify goal behaviors and offer learners meaningful rewards when they succeed. For example, a child with autism might get a toy, book, or video.
Therapists use a three-step process called the “A-B-C’s” to understand and teach behavior.
- The antecedent. Anything that occurs just before the target behavior. It might be verbal, such as a command, request, or something in the environment like sound or light.
- Resulting behavior. The learner’s responses to the antecedent.
- The consequence. The direct effect of behaviors. For example, therapists therapists provide attention or preferred activities.
Professionals evaluate each antecedent, behavior and consequence to learn why behaviors happen and to evaluate how consequences affect the chances of behaviors repeating.
WHAT MAKES A SUCCESSFUL ABA PROGRAM?
Best outcomes for ABA clients are often achieved when the “team” can function well together (i.e., be on the same page), providing intensive treatment (this is KEY–maximizing learning/teaching opportunities throughout every day/situations accelerates progress) across providers AND family members. Here are a few keys to consider:
- Intensity. For most people with developmental disabilities, particularly autism, we must not only emphasize learning skills consistent with same-age peers, but accelerating that learning curve. To accomplish these goals, high-intensity programming is generally indicated. In other words, we need days full of learning!
- Caregiver involvement. One of the best ways to capture high intensity programming–in addition to capitalizing on therapy hours–is caregiver training. Our families spend so much time with our clients; there are hundreds of opportunities every week to extend treatment! Thus, it’s crucial to include training for family members.
- Response to intervention. One integral element of Applied Behavior Analysis is measurement. Behavior analysts measure client responses to learning opportunities, a variety of spontaneous responses, occurrences of inappropriate behavior, even the degree to which they deliver treatment strategies accurately! Measuring a client’s response to intervention is critical–we need to know if it’s time to move on to the next skill, or if we need to make adjustments to master the current skill.
ABA PROGRAMS HAVE POSITIVE RESULTS
When therapists and clinicians practice ABA, they carefully observe clients, keep records, track behavior data, and analyze their findings. These steps allow them to understand even the most challenging and confusing behaviors. Once clinicians have a clear understanding of their clients, they can modify behavior program plans based on their needs. Therapists evaluate desirable and undesirable actions and use interventions to reduce maladaptive behavior.
Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) who create ABA programs are highly skilled and trained professionals. Some have advanced degrees in behavior management and autism. Many are specialists in areas like education, psychology, and social work. BCBAs have completed a rigorous, multi-year training before earning their certification and are equipped to create programs to manage challenging behaviors.
HOW MUCH DOES ABA 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.
WHERE CAN I FIND ABA THERAPY FOR MY CHILD WITH AUTISM?
Board Certified Behavior Analysts and their teams work with patients in almost every major city in the country, including Vancouver, WA.
ABA therapy starts after receiving a diagnosis from an developmental pediatrician or behavioral pediatrician. For families looking for services, it’s great to ask the child’s pediatrician, general psychiatrist, or support networks about local ABA service providers. Physicians often will have familiarity with a few regional practitioners close to their patients’ homes and will be able to refer them accordingly. Teachers and daycares may also have recommendations for ABA providers. If those fail, another option can be to Google “ABA providers near me”.
Not every ABA service provider will be the perfect fit for you, your family, and your child. Check out the office’s website, read reviews from current and previous families, and ask for referrals from previous clients. Speaking with the parents of a child who has successfully completed treatment is the best way to get an accurate view of what to expect.
HOW LONG DOES ABA THERAPY LAST?
Long-term ABA therapy programs typically involve 25 to 40 hours of therapy per week. Depending on a person’s diagnosis, ABA therapy can last from 1-3 years. Studies show that children participating in long-term, intensive programs get the best results. Extended therapy can provide marked improvements in socialization, language abilities, and life skills.
CONTACT US TODAY
Our Board Certified Behavior Analysts and therapists can work together with you and your family in the Vancouver, Washington area. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today!