Applied Behavior Analysis
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a type of therapy that focuses on improving specific behaviors, such as social skills, communication, reading, and academics as well as adaptive learning skills, such as fine motor dexterity, hygiene, grooming, domestic capabilities, punctuality, and job competence. Applied Behavior Analysis is effective for children and adults with psychological disorders in a variety of settings, including schools, workplaces, homes, and clinics. It has also been shown that consistent ABA can significantly improve behaviors and skills and decrease the need for special services.
When It’s Used
ABA is commonly practiced as a therapeutic intervention for individuals with autism. According to the Center for Autism, Applied Behavior Analysis helps the autistic client improve social interactions, learn new skills, and maintain positive behaviors. ABA also helps transfer skills and behavior from one situation to another, controlling situations where negative behaviors arise and minimizing negative behaviors. With autism, ABA is most successful when intensely applied for more than 20 hours a week and prior to the age of 4. ABA can also help aging adults cope with the losses that come with age, like memory, strength, and relationships. For young and old, ABA can help individuals manage some of the lifestyle challenges that accompany many mental and physical health conditions.
What to Expect
When working with an ABA therapist, you will:
- Determine which behaviors require change
- Set goals and expected outcomes
- Establish ways to measure changes and improvements
- Evaluate where you are now
- Learn new skills and/or learn how to avoid negative behaviors
- Regularly review your progress
Decide whether or not further behavior modification is necessary
How It Works
ABA takes a research approach to therapy based on proven theories of learning and behavior. Therapists who use ABA understand how human behaviors are learned and how they can be changed over time. The therapist evaluates a client’s behavior and develops treatment plans to help improve the communication and behavior skills necessary for success in their personal and professional lives. ABA therapists can also provide training to parents and teachers. For the greatest results, ABA requires heavy monitoring and continuous evaluation. Therapists and other health professionals work within settings such as schools, homes, and community centers to evaluate and modify treatment as it progresses.