Autism affects 1 out of every 44 children born. With no cure, early intervention and treatment are crucial for greatly improving, and in some cases overcoming, the diverse symptoms related to autism. One popular form of treatment is ABA therapy—applied behavior analysis.
ABA therapy focuses on improving social behaviors in autistic children by using intervention methods based on principles of learning. This form of therapy is typically chosen in order to support the following goals in children with autism:
- Reduce interfering behaviors, such as self-injury
- Increase language and communication skills
- Improve self-control
- Improve attention and focus
- And so many more!
One of the many benefits of ABA therapy is how versatile and flexible the treatment techniques can be! They are adapted to each specific patient’s needs and requirements, and can even be offered as either one-on-one therapy or in a group setting.
The primary strategy of applied behavior analysis is the use of positive reinforcement. When a behavior is followed by something that is valued (a reward), a person is more likely to repeat that behavior. Over time, this encourages positive behavioral changes. In ABA therapy, this is done by the therapist identifying a goal behavior for the patient. Each time the child exhibits that behavior or skill, a reward is given. Depending on the interests of each specific child, the reward can range from anything like a toy or a book to verbal praise.
The second component of ABA therapy are the “A-B-C’s,” otherwise referred to as antecedent, behavior, and consequence. The antecedent is what comes directly before the behavior, such as a request or a command. It could also be a physical stimulus such as sound, light or another nearby environmental factor. The resulting behavior is either the patient’s response or lack of response to the antecedent. Finally, the consequence immediately follows the behavior. It can be either positive or negative; for example, positive reinforcement of the desired behavior, or no reaction for undesired or inappropriate behavior.
Along with additional tools and planning, ABA therapy can be a highly successful form of treatment for children with autism. Contact the team at Zelexa today to speak with one of our kind and knowledgeable staff members on the possibility of implementing ABA therapy into your child’s life!
April is World Autism Awareness Month. Support the cause by wearing blue all month long!
Written by Kelsey George of KARMA jack digital marketing.