Applied Behavior Analysis
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is based on the science of learning and behavior. ABA looks at how behaviors work, how behaviors are affected by the environment, and how learning takes place. The goal is to increase behaviors that are helpful and decrease behaviors that are harmful or affect learning. ABA programs can help increase language and communication skills, improve attention, focus, social skills, memory and academic skills, and decrease problem behaviors.
ABA involves various techniques for understanding and changing behavior. ABA can be adapted to meet the needs of the unique individuals and can be provided in different settings: including school, home, and/or community. ABA teaches skills that are useful in daily living and can involve one-to-one or group teaching. Positive reinforcement is one of the main strategies utilized in ABA. When a behavior is followed by a valued item and social praise, that behavior is likely to be repeated in the future. To determine the function of a behavior (why it is happening), we need to look at the Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence correlation. Understanding Antecedents (what happens immediately before the behavior) and Consequences (what happens immediately after a behavior) is another major component in ABA.
What does ABA involve?
Applied Behavior Analysis is not a “one size fits all” program. Each program is written to meet the needs of each individual. The overall goal of ABA is assist each individual in becoming independent and successful in short and long term goals. A qualified and training behavior analyst (BCBA) completes assessments to determine and customize a plan that incorporate the learner’s skills, needs, interests, preferences, and family situations. Goals are written to include different skill areas and behavior intervention plans are designed to assist in decreasing unwanted behaviors. Ongoing data collection, graphing and monitoring of behaviors continues throughout services to determine if services are effective or if changes need to be made. For more information about ABA or to find qualified professionals in your area, check out https://www.autismspeaks.org/applied-behavior-analysis-aba-0 and https://www.bacb.com/.