What is ABA?
ABA stands for Applied Behavior Analysis. It is a set of principles that form the basis for many behavioral treatments to bring about meaningful and positive change. ABA is considered an evidence-based, “best” practice treatment by the US Surgeon General and by the American Psychological Association. ABA therapy can be used to increase language and communication skills, improve attention, focus, social skills, memory, and academics. It can also be used to help decrease problem behaviors.
What Ways Does ABA Support Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder?
ABA is widely recognized as a safe and effective treatment for autism spectrum disorder or ASD. Over the last decade, the nation has seen a particularly dramatic increase in the use of ABA to help persons with ASD live happy and productive lives. Studies have demonstrated that many children with ASD experience significant improvements in learning, reasoning, communication, and adaptability when they participate in high quality ABA programs.
Although ABA interventions can help learners with ASD make meaningful progress in many areas, changes do not typically occur quickly. Most learners require intensive and ongoing instruction that builds on their step-by step progress. Progress varies depending on individual, age, level of functioning, family goals, and other factors. ABA principles and techniques can foster basic skills such as looking, listening and imitating, as well as complex skills such as reading, conversing, and understanding another person’s perspective.
ABA methods support persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder in a variety of ways:
- Teach skills to replace problem behavior
- Increase positive behavior and reduce interfering behavior
- Maintain behaviors
- Change responses to your child’s behavior
- Increase your child’s academic, social, and self-help skills
- Improve ability to focus on tasks, comply with tasks, and increase motivation to perform
- Aim to improve cognitive skills in order for your child to be more available for learning
- Generalize or transfer behavior from one situation or response to another
If your child is having difficulty learning, having problems acquiring new skills, having difficulty communicating, experiencing problem behaviors that get in the way of daily functioning, or any other concerning behaviors, an ABA-based approach to behavior intervention may be useful.