Behaviour Analysis, ABA, is a child’s best hope at overcoming many of the devastating symptoms of autism. The quality of life of the child, and of the family, is dependent upon access to these vital services.
What is ABA?
ABA is a science of human behaviour that involves the application of learning theory to socially significant problems.
Empirical research suggests that treatments and education strategies based upon the principles of ABA are effective interventions for such problems as phobias, addictions, Conduct Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), classroom behaviour problems, learning disabilities, etc.
ABA and Autism
With respect to Autism Spectrum Disorder, intervention methods based on the principles of ABA are the only methods that have scientific evidence to support their efficacy.
During the past forty years, researchers have published hundreds of controlled, scientific studies demonstrating that treatment and education strategies based upon the principles of ABA have a profound impact on the development of individuals with autism (see Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis).
How is it taught?
A comprehensive, state-of-the-art, ABA program for individuals with autism means that:
- All teaching objectives are observable and measurable to ensure that behaviour change is occurring; that is, that children are actually learning skills and displaying more socially appropriate behaviour
- Skills and treatment objectives are broken down into small components or teaching steps to facilitate success
- The impact of the environment – the way we teach – is continuously assessed to determine its influence on a child’s behaviour and acquisition of new skills
- While there is a basic framework outlining the treatment/teaching interactions, all facets of the program such as the selection of target objectives, the way instructions are delivered, the rewards or methods of encouragement given, and the type of assistance or prompting provided to correct errors are individualized to the needs and learning style of the particular child
- Generalization of skills to more natural settings, with relevant caregivers is an explicit part of the program
When an ABA program is implemented in an intensive manner (e.g., 30 to 40 hours per week of structured teaching interactions) with young children with autism, it is frequently referred to as Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention (EIBI).
Research suggests that a significant percentage of young children with autism who receive EIBI will successfully make the transition to regular school. Research also suggests that all individuals with autism, regardless of age, will benefit – will learn new skills such as more appropriate ways to communicate – from ABA-based treatment and education. In short, this approach, ABA, is a child’s best hope at overcoming many of the devastating symptoms of autism. The quality of life of the child, and of the family, is dependent upon access to these vital services.
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