What is ABA Therapy?
ABA is the applied use of behavioral principles to everyday situations with the goal of either increasing or decreasing targeted behaviors.
How this translates into practical application will depend on the specific situation.
All ABA programs share similar components: discrete trialteaching, programming for generalization to the natural environment, reinforcement, prompting and fading strategies, and outcome-based decision-making.
Teaching for generalization – initially, therapy is usually conducted in a less chaotic environment, with the idea that having fewer distractions around in the learning environment will assist the child to focus and learn the task at hand. Programming for generalization takes into account the need for behaviors to occur across all environments, independently, and spontaneously. Thus, criteria are set to include various setting and stimuli and a skill is not determined to be mastered unless and until the child demonstrates independent ability to
perform the skill across such environments.
The “Other Stuff”
One of the things that sets us apart from other ABA programs is that we have 20 years of experience working with children on the Autism Spectrum, we have a large staff of very well trained Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists many of which specialize in certain key areas like Feeding, Communication Devices, Sensory Integration and Orthotics / Wheelchair fitments etc.
Through working with thousands of families over two decades we understand the value of an integrated therapy approach and have designed a complete program that delivers measurable results with as little stress as possible on you and your family.
Reinforcement – when we think of reinforcement, we naturally think of things that we like. Behaviorally speaking, reinforcement means only that a behavior, when followed by reinforcing stimuli, is more likely to increase over time. Thus, in an ABA program, each child’s reinforcement (items and timing and activities) is likely to vary widely.
All ABA programs should include a reinforcer assessment; and these assessments should be reviewed regularly over time to capture changes in the child’s preferences. Reinforcers should be built on items and activities that are motivating to a child. When behaviorists talk about reinforcement with families and other lay persons, it is often in the context of presenting desired items or activities to a student. This is termed “positive’ reinforcement. Another form of reinforcement is “negative’ reinforcement – that is, the removal of an undesired (aversive) stimulus – which, when removed consistently over time, the target behavior is likely to increase.