A functional, systematic approach to learning that is scientifically proven to achieve long-term outcomes.
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a methodology that uses behavioral principles to increase desirable behaviors (e.g., making appropriate requests, sharing, following simple instructions) and to decrease inappropriate behavior (e.g., tantrums, aggression, self-injurious behavior). By carefully observing, measuring and analyzing behavior-environment interactions, a behavior analyst works to determine the function of the behavior or the underlying cause of why a behavior may be occurring. The behavior analyst also works to identify what barriers may be hindering skill development. The behavior analyst then develops a plan to change the behavior or increase a specific skill area by using objective data.
ABA programs are individualized and data-driven.
ABA programs are developed based on the results of careful assessment in which target behaviors or skills are selected for treatment. Data are then collected on target behaviors or skills targeted for increase throughout the treatment process to ensure progress is being made. By using data to carefully monitor progress and guide decision making with treatment plans, new goals and skills may then be introduced systematically.
ABA is effective.
Research has shown that ABA is a proven treatment model for individuals with ASD above all other forms of therapy. Research shows that individuals receiving early intensive ABA programming, on average, show large increases in IQ and significant gains in adaptive skill areas such as social, hygiene, play and community safety skills to name a few.
Our In-Home ABA services offer different techniques to support a variety of learning needs.
ABA home programs may include a number of different teaching approaches, all of which fall under the umbrella of ABA therapy. A combination of these approaches is often used within one ABA session. This is a list of some of the ABA teaching approaches used to support individuals with ASD and related disabilities:
- Discrete Trial Training (DTT): DTT provides a structured approach to teaching. During DTT teaching sessions, steps are broken down into smaller, more “discrete” units. For example, for teaching clothing items instead of teaching multiple clothing items at once, a picture of a shirt might be presented and the child would be given the instruction, “Where is the shirt?” and the child would be prompted to respond by selecting (e.g., touching, pointing) the shirt. Once the child masters ‘shirt’ other clothing items (e.g., shorts) would be taught individually and then the child would be taught to discriminate known clothing items when presented together (e.g., touches shirt when shirt and shorts are presented together). Positive reinforcement in the form of tangible rewards (candy, toys) is often used for correct responses. DTT has been researched extensively and has been shown to be very effective for teaching children with autism.
- Verbal Behavior Approach (VB): The focus of VB teaching is communication. Consistent with ABA, the theory behind VB is that all language has a purpose or function. Making requests (“mands”), labeling things in our environment (“tacts”), listening and responding to sounds in our environment (“listener-receptive skills”), echoing things we hear (“echoics”) all serve different functions. VB teaching sessions optimize language opportunities by using prompting and reinforcement to teach across these different areas of language.
- Natural Environment Training (NET): Using NET, teaching opportunities are contrived in the natural environment and revolve around the child’s interests. The focus of NET is to practice a variety of skills that are relevant to the child in a real-life setting. For example, if a child enjoys playing with trains then a NET session would occur while the child is playing with the trains. The child may practice asking for trains, answer questions about the trains, share the trains with the instructor, etc. Although NET appears loosely structured, the instructor is carefully providing these natural teaching opportunities and using the child’s motivation to engage with the preferred activity at the same time. Teaching opportunities during NET are systematic and based on current target goals for skill acquisition.