Autism Therapy ABA Helps Children

Children who have autism can get help from a therapy called Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA. The therapy is based on the idea that people have a higher chance of repeating behaviors that get rewarded compared to ones that are not rewarded. Applied Behavior Analysis has been proven to help children since the 1960s and has been endorsed as a treatment by the American Academy of Pediatrics. A therapist who is trained in Applied Behavior Analysis conducts the therapy. The therapy is run using two different time formats: a modified format and a typical format.

The first format is used in a typical ABA and occurs when the therapist spends between 20 to 40 hours a week with the child in one-on-one sessions. This session is sometimes changed using the second format. Modified Applied Behavior Analysis happens when the therapist spends 10 to 15 hours with the child. The modified format allows the child to have time for other therapies such as speech and physical. Applied Behavior Analysis contains three elements. The first element is controlling the consequences of behavior by rewarding good behavior, taking away consequences that come with good behavior and punishing the child to stop their behavior.

The second element is to move around activities or conditions to enforce positive behavior and shrink the possibility of negative behavior. For example, a therapist could either simplify a task or give the child choices to reduce the possibility of a certain negative behavior. The third element is to teach children skills that allow them to be successful and not rely on adverse behaviors to satisfy their needs. The Applied Behavior Analysis therapy can also help children who have autism by improving certain individual skills.

After the therapist assesses the child, the therapist creates an Applied Behavior Analysis plan that caters to specific skills the child needs to improve on through certain goals. These goals can be related to academics, communication skills, interaction with their environment and social skills. Once the goals are identified, the therapist will create a set of steps to help the child achieve their goals. The therapist can use different techniques to teach the child a skill and one of these techniques is discrete trial training. The therapist uses the technique by giving the child a cue and the child is then given the chance to respond. If the child responds correctly, they are rewarded. The reward is something the child enjoys so they are motivated to complete the skill in the future. Even though this technique seems simple, other techniques are usually necessary to complete the skill. These techniques teach the child to apply the skill to different settings and help them learn to use multiple steps when they complete a task.

Numerous studies have shown that the above techniques can help children improve communication, play, social relationships, caring for themselves, employment and school. The participants in these studies ranged from young children to adults. The results of the studies showed an increase in participation in community and family activities. Certain studies that were peer-reviewed that examined the possible benefit of combining many Applied Behavior Analysis techniques into comprehensive or life skills, individual, and intensive early intervention or programs that meet up to 40 hours a week for children before the age of four. The results of the study showed that children with autism improve their communication, reasoning, adaptability and learning when they participated in intense Applied Behavior Analysis.

Children who have autism can be helped by a therapy called Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA. A trained therapist runs the therapy, which can last either 10 to 15 hours or 20 to 40 hours a week. The child can learn various skills from the use of an Applied Behavior Analysis plan, which teaches the children certain skills through different techniques, such as discrete trial training. Applied Behavior Analysis has been proven successful through studies that showed children improved specific skills such as communication and caring for themselves. The therapy is not only used on children but adults as well. For adults, therapists combine and use different techniques to help them move successfully into employment and living independently.

By Jordan Bonte


Autism Speaks
Autism Support Network

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