Helping Those Who Have Been Diagnosed with Autism
When your child is first diagnosed with autism or a disorder on the autism spectrum, it can be a very scary thing. After all, many people who aren't familiar with autism don't really understand what it is or what it means for their child. Sometimes, their first thoughts are "my child is not normal" or "what quality of life will my child lead?". It's only natural to want the best for your child as a parent, and autism wasn't exactly on your list of achievements for your son or daughter.
ACES offers many autism therapies for those impacted by autism, including Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA therapy). These types of therapies are effective for teaching children with autism and correcting any problem behaviors associated with autism. A diagnosis is not the end of the world for your child. In fact, the earlier you can get intervention, the more likely your child will lead a very normal life. Contact our team to learn more today!
Applied Behavior Analysis Can Help With:
- Language development and skills
- Communication skills
- Better focus and attention
- Improved social skills
- Higher academic achievement
- Decrease in problem behaviors
- Better memory
- Decrease in outbursts
- Improved interest in others
- And more
What Is Applied Behavior Analysis?
As the name implies, Applied Behavior Analysis, commonly referred to as ABA, involves the analysis of how behaviors work. When applied to individuals, once there is an understanding of how their behavior works, then there can be methods employed to change undesired behaviors in a positive way.
The goal of ABA therapy is to reinforce the desired behaviors while discouraging the negative ones. This can be applied to every aspect of a child's life, from reinforcing learning and communication to helping to decrease outbursts and other disruptive or socially-unacceptable behaviors that can be seen in children with autism.
The ABCs Of Applied Behavior Analysis
The theory of ABA therapy was pioneered in the 1960s by Dr. Monstrose Wolf who was studying tantrums and autistic children. He came up with the idea of the time out when he realized that children were also feeding off their environment, specifically the adults in their environment. This was using the ideas of psychologist B.F. Skinner who, 20 years earlier, used the theory of behavior modification known as operant conditioning. This has led to what is formally known as the ABC's of applied behavior analysis:
Antecedent — Antecedent is the cause of the behavior. Children don't just scream at the top of their lungs without a reason. There is something usually in their environment that they desire that they are not getting in the moment. This can be a toy, attention, or anything else for that matter. It can be someone asking them to do something. It can be a light or sound they don't like. It can also be a feeling from inside of them.
Behavior — Behavior is what children do when they don't get or have what they desire. This can be throwing a temper tantrum, crying, acting out, or physical violence, such as hitting others, throwing items, or hurting themselves, either intentionally or unintentionally.
Consequence — Consequence is how you respond to this behavior. Many times, parents inadvertently reinforce this behavior by giving their child attention because they do not know that attention is the antecedent, or what the child wants. Understanding consequences is how you change the behavior.
Understanding How Applied Behavior Analysis Works
The discovery of how understanding what caused behaviors to change and the methods to do so is what ABA therapy is based on today. ABA therapy today works by observing the environment of the child, which are the antecedents, and piecing together the relationship of the behaviors shown to alter the behaviors by changing the consequences or reactions to those behaviors. This is how negative or unwanted behaviors are changed into positive ones.
ABA therapy can be applied at home, at school, or just out and about in the community at large. In fact, many ABA therapists are using ABA in a variety of settings, such as on a playground or at a grocery store. This way, children can immediately apply and benefit from this therapy in a more true-to-life situation. The skills learned are life-long skills. ABA therapy can be applied on a one-on-one basis, which works well when the therapist is targeting behavior or knowledge-based changes, or in a group setting, which works well when working on social skills is the focus. The crux of ABA therapy is positive reinforcement of behaviors that, over time, yield measurable changes.
Using Applied Behavior Analysis In Those With Autism
Observation. First, the child will be observed, preferably in their natural environment or at home or school. Many details will be noted about what is happening before the child reacts, the behavior, as well as the response of the adults and of the child. All of this information is vital to forming an action plan.
Form a plan. A Behavior Intervention Plan, or BIP, will be put together by your autism therapist that will be designed to gradually change the behaviors by changing the consequences.
Try different therapies. ABA therapists have a lot of tools at their disposal to use, which is absolutely good news for parents with children with autism. As you know, autism is different in every child, so what may work for one child, may not for another. From discrete trial training (DTT) to PECS and Pivotal Response Training (PRT), the ABA therapists at ACES are skilled at forming the perfect plan with the highest likelihood of success for your child.
Caregiver training. In order to change undesired behavior, consistency is the key, and since the child's ABA therapist is not with them 24/7, the parents and any other caregivers must be on-board as well. Your therapist will offer invaluable training on how to react to the undesired consequences in your child.
Constant reevaluation. If something is not working, there is room to pivot in your child's BIP. In addition, as the ABA therapy plan begins achieving results and depending on how your child is reacting, a different approach may be the better option. These plans are meant to be adaptable as your child progresses. Moreover, there are usually no definitive timelines either, since some children progress quicker than others.
Choose ACES For Your Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy Today
The overarching goal here at ACES is for your child to be successful no matter what they choose to do, whether in their everyday life activities or in a career. We believe that the therapies and methods we offer to children with autism can create positive outcomes that offer them the best chance for future success. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has been shown to be effective for children as young as three. When it comes to those diagnosed with an autism disorder on the spectrum, this type of one-on-one therapy is quite effective. When partnered with amazing ABA therapists, such as those at ACES, you'll notice big changes in how well your child manages school and social expectations. Plus, your home environment can be much calmer as well.
The sooner your child begins receiving therapies for autism, the better outcome they are likely to have. The goal of any type of therapy is to improve lives. We believe that our top-notch therapists offer amazing therapies that can improve the quality of life for individuals and families impacted by autism or other special needs. We are dedicated to giving you and your child the tools they need in order to do so. ACES has locations in many states, including California, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, Washington, Oklahoma, and Hawaii, which allows us to better serve you and your family. Contact a local office, or visit our website to get started today!