Applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy is widely recognized as the most effective, evidence-based treatment for autism and is endorsed by the U.S. Surgeon General and American Academy of Pediatrics. ABA therapy focuses on basic skills such as looking, listening, requesting and imitating, as well as complex skills such as reading, conversing and understanding another person’s perspective. ABA also helps reduces behaviors that make it difficult for children to learn.
Treatment plans are developed according to the functional assessment that is made for the individual receiving services. It is important that the therapy is based around play for children and especially children with autism. It is during play that children learn:
- appropriate behavior
- task completion
- turn taking
- building relationship
- joint attention
- appropriate language
- tolerance to a variety of ways to play with toys
- reciprocal interaction
ABA is geared towards appropriate usage of certain toys. For example, when teaching play-dough, certain tasks are targeted such as rolling play-dough with a rolling pin, cutting play-dough and making shapes from cookie-cutters.