Understanding how learning takes place
Simply put, ABA is a scientific, behavioral management approach. By utilizing basic principles of behavior, special techniques and positive reinforcement it can bring about significant, measurable change. It’s a way to shape and mold actions for effective communication and learning. It has been proven to improve attention, focus, social skills and memory, as well as decrease behaviors such as noncompliance, aggression, self-injury and stereotypy. ABA methods help kiddos replace hindering behaviors so they learn “what to do,” not just “what not to do.”
Everyone excels if given the right opportunities
By now, you’ve likely heard about Applied Behavior Analysis from your pediatrician. Or another parent told you how much it helped her son or daughter. Maybe you read about it online. But what does ABA look like and how does it work? Chances are, you still feel you’re lacking details on what it means for your child.
ABA is a structured, data-driven way to change behavior by looking at what is reinforcing it.
Behavior that is reinforced tends to be repeated and behavior that is not reinforced will dissipate. The practice concentrates on antecedents (environmental situations that occur before the behavior) and consequences.
People often believe “consequences” to be negative, but instead, think about it as what happens after a behavior. In ABA, we focus on the positive side of this principle to teach new skills and minimize other actions. One technique starts with a prompt, and when therapists get the responses they are looking for, they introduce a reinforcer to let the kids know it’s a good thing…a high five, toy, snack or some other kind of praise.
Using ABA to teach consists of breaking down activities into smaller pieces in order to tackle larger goals. For example, to aim for teeth-brushing, it may start with just turning on the water, then removing the cap, putting the toothpaste on the brush, etc. rather than diving all in at once.
It may take a little longer for kids with autism to learn certain tasks that come naturally to others, and it is often because their minds work in a different way. Our goal is to make sure we give them the attention and means to the same opportunities so they can reach their own goals.