ABA Techniques in Action

Why does ABA work as an autism treatment?

• We focus on teaching skills that are necessary for success in life. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has been shown to be effective in the teaching of self-care skills, communication skills, social skills, independent living skills, and skills that are required to succeed in the workplace. ABA techniques have been used to teach children and adults skills that are necessary for the self-control of emotions such as anger.
• With all of our children and adults with an autism spectrum disorder, we work to increase social behavior, academic, and language development so that each individual can lead a more constructive and meaningful life. All of our ABA treatment programs for children and adults are precisely tailored to meet the specific needs of each individual.

Decreasing Challenging Behavior

How do we evaluate challenging behavior?

• A Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) will conduct a comprehensive behavioral evaluation. known as a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA), and is designed to determine the cause of the child’s problem behavior. The BCBA begins by interviewing the parents, caregivers, and professionals who work with the child. If possible, the child also will be interviewed. As part of the behavioral assessment the BCBA will observe the child's behavior and may directly interact with the child.

Why do children with autism display challenging behavior?

1. To get attention (including negative attention)
2. To gain access to activities, events, and material things (such as toys, games and electronics)
3. To escape or avoid requests they don't want to follow, or to escape or avoid situations they don’t want to be in

How do we develop an ABA treatment plan?

Once we determine why the problem behavior is occurring, we are able to develop a plan for aba treatment that is designed to replace the unwanted behavior with desirable and appropriate behavior. Research has shown that this approach can be an effective autism treatment for children and adults.

Example 1

At ABA Psychological Services, we identify the situations and "triggers" that evoke problem behavior. Rather than trying to decrease unwanted behavior by having the child avoid the "triggers", we teach the child how to engage in appropriate behavior when the "trigger" is presented. For example, if a child tantrums when no one is paying attention, we teach the child how to ask for attention in an appropriate manner.

Example 2

If a child is avoiding or acting out with other children because they lack social skills, we first do a thorough evaluation to determine what specific social skills are lacking. We then teach the child the skills necessary to derive satisfaction from playing cooperatively with others. When avoidance and acting out no longer serve a purpose, we often see these unwanted behaviors diminish or disappear completely

Increasing Adaptive Behavior and Teaching New Skills

How do we evaluate adaptive behavior?

A Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) will provide an evaluation to determine the child's current level of functioning and skills. The BCBA will interview the parents, caregivers, and professionals who work with the child. If possible, the child also will be interviewed the BCBA will then conduct a detailed evaluation designed to identify deficiencies in the child's skills.

How do we develop an ABA treatment plan?

Once the goals for behavioral improvement and skills training have been developed, the BCBA will work with a highly qualified paraprofessional to determine the best methods for improving the child's behavior and teaching important skills. The paraprofessional will be responsible for implementing these teaching procedures under the supervision of the BCBA.

How do we monitor the effectiveness and progress of an ABA treatment plan?

With ABA techniques, there is a tremendous focus on the progress each child is making in achieving behavioral and skills training goals. Every step of the way the child's behavioral progress is recorded and analyzed. In this way, the parents and the BCBA can clearly see the child's progress. If the child is not making the expected progress, the BCBA will make changes to the teaching procedures. New and more advanced goals will be developed when the child achieves the current goals.

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