Applied Behavior Analysis
Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA Therapy, uses scientific principles of learning and motivation to effectively teach. It focuses on the idea that the consequences of what we do affect what and how we learn.
ABA seeks to improve specific behaviors while demonstrating a reliable relationship between the procedures used and the change in the child’s behavior.
ABA uses positive reinforcement to increase positive behaviors and social interactions while decreasing inappropriate behaviors. ABA therapy is implemented and tailored on the child’s unique needs.
The assessments used may include (ex. Functional Assessments, interviews and direct observation, ABLLS, VB-MAPP etc.), these are then used to develop an ABA program that is ideal in meeting the individual needs. Some methods may include: Discrete Trial Training, Pivotal Response Treatment, Verbal Behavior, Natural Environment Training, Self-Management Training and/or Video Modeling.
Who Benefits from ABA?
ABA is effective with a wide spectrum of behaviors and ability levels; Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), Traumatic Brain Injuries, Down Syndrome, Developmental Disabilities, Problem Behaviors, Tantrums, Physical Aggression, Self-Injurious Behaviors and Noncompliance.
How Often Should Therapy Be Done and When?
ABA consists of intensive programming that is tailored to the child’s needs. Depending on the individual’s skill level, range and level of disability the amount of hours for services will vary.
Discrete Trial Training
Discrete Trial Training focuses on teaching a skill in structured, simple steps, where skills are broken down and taught individually and then “built-up” one step at a time.
Pivotal Response Treatment
Pivotal Response Treatment® is a highly acclaimed research-based intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). PRT® is a naturalistic intervention model derived from Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). PRT was created by Drs. Robert and Lynn Koegel.
Natural Environment Training
Natural Environment Training is an ABA approach in which teaching trials happen within the natural environment. This approach focuses on a child’s immediate interests and activities and uses these motivators to guide the session.
Self-Management Training is used to help children increase their independence and generalization skills without requiring the help from a caregiver, teacher or parent. This technique provides instant feedback to the child so they are able to monitor their own behavior. The child is shown how to self-evaluate themselves, keep track and monitor their balance, and provide their own type of reinforcement.
Children are shown videotapes depicting a variety of simple behavior scenarios such as play skills and personal interactions. This allows the child to see and digest everyday scenarios without personally being involved. This technique is an effective teaching method because it provides the child with a flexible, fun and stress free way to learn.
Achievement Balance use repeated video modeling presentations of behaviors so the child can see and recognize the target behavior. Video Modeling is one of the many tools Achievement Balance use to assist children on everyday social skills such as learning hygiene tasks and understanding emotions.
Verbal Behavior Therapy
Verbal Behavior Therapy teaches communication using the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis and the theories of behaviorist B.F. Skinner. Achievement Balance utilize this methodology to address functional skills, such as language/ communication, self-help skills, play skills and complying with instruction.
By design, Verbal Behavior Therapy motivates a child to learn language by connecting words with their purposes. Each has a different function.
Verbal Behavior Therapy focuses on four word types:
Mand is the basis for all other behaviors and is a request for something with or without the item being present. Example: “Cookie,” to ask for a cookie.
Tact is the labeling of an item or action that is present. A comment used to share an experience or draw attention. Example: “airplane” to point out an airplane.
Intraverbal is what one person says that is based upon what another person says but not in contact with the property or action. A word used to answer a question or otherwise respond. Example: Where do you go to school?
Echoic is a repeated, or echoed, word. Example: “Cookie?” “Cookie!” (important as the student needs to imitate to learn)