Parents of children under the autism spectrum have one thing in common – it is their desire to provide the highest quality of life for their special children. There are several therapies available to alleviate the different challenges that both parents and children with ASD experience.
Intensive therapy at the earliest stage of a child’s life (otherwise known as early intervention) has proved to be the most effective in enabling children with ASD to succeed in life.
A large number of children with ASD receive substantial gains when undergoing Applied Behavioral Analysis or ABA Therapy. Dr. Ivar Lovaas, who pioneered ABA Therapy, once mentioned that 47 percent of ASD children who received intensive ABA therapy blended among their peers with ease. Let’s take a look at how effective ABA therapy helps individuals with autism achieve a higher quality of life.
What is ABA Therapy?
Applied Behavioral Analysis or ABA is a type of scientific discipline that applies techniques based on the science of learning and behavior. Also referred to as behavioral engineering, ABA is used by Board-certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) to understand how children behave, why they behave the way they do, how their environment influences their behavior, and how learning takes place for ASD children.
The goal of ABA therapy is to encourage positive behavior in an autistic child that is helpful in alleviating disruptive actions that affect their learning and how they fare in real-life situations. ABA Therapy programs are child-specific since ASD children inherently differ from each other despite manifesting similar behavior. It helps enhance a child’s language development and communication skills. Apart from this, it also improves a child’s focus, attention, and social interaction with their peers.
How Does ABA Therapy Work For Children With ASD?
ABA therapy for ASD children involves deconstructing larger skills into smaller steps and gradually teaching them to a child in a way that’s manageable for them. It uses reinforcements so that children can slowly master the steps to develop the skill. Reinforcements can be in the form of rewards that encourage positive behavior.
ABA therapy is a continuous and ongoing process wherein a specialist collects data to analyze a child’s behavior. Using the data gathered during the process, the specialist then employs the appropriate approach that allows further progress and development for the child.
Addressing Disruptive Behavior
The degree of severity for ASD varies from one child to another, and this includes the display of problematic behavior as well. Disruptive behavior is a typical characteristic of ASD children. This can include extreme irritability, being noncompliant, disobedience, aggressive behavior, outbursts, tantrums, self-harm, and property destruction.
ABA Therapy is effective at controlling such behavior. It focuses on how a specific disruptive behavior serves to function the child rather than what it looks like at face value. As an example, when addressing aggression, ABA focuses on identifying how self-injury functions for the child rather than analyzing what it looks like. After a specialist identifies the function of self-injury (the disruptive behavior), alternative and positive behavior is introduced to replace its function, thereby eliminating the disruptive behavior.
Other Benefits Of ABA Therapy
ASD children who undergo ABA Therapy display better communication and social interaction skills. They become more independent and self-reliant. ABA therapy also teaches parents and educators how to effectively work with autistic children for them to achieve a functional and greater quality of life.
The truth is we won’t be with our children forever; however, by giving them access to ABA therapy at the earliest stage of their lives, you empower them to become functional adults and reach their full potential. ABA Therapy is provided by multiple autism centers across the country. If you have a child that’s diagnosed with ASD, speak to a professional today.