What is ABA?

ABA stands for Applied Behavior Analysis

One of the core defining features of ABA is that it's an "evidence based" practice. "Evidence Based" means that ABA has passed rigorous, scientific tests evaluating its effectiveness in improving meaningful outcomes for children with Autism.

The strategies and teaching procedures implemented by our highly trained clinicians and coaches are guided by decades of scientific research in learning and human behavior. 

Applied Behavior Analysis helps us to understand:

  • Environmental conditions that maintain behaviors

  • How specific behaviors increase or decrease over time

  • How learning occurs

When working with young children of Autism, ABA is designed to be a temporary, intensive therapy intervention. There are several factors that determine the time frame and hours of treatment a child may be prescribed. Depending on the intensity of the prescribed level of treatment, services can typically range from 12-40 hours per week for 1-3 years. Research has shown this type of Early Intensive Behavior Therapy can change the trajectory of a child's development. ABA services are not intended to be lifelong and are often faded out once a child is demonstrating age-appropriate skills that are maintaining over time in typical settings. The goal of ABA in general is to help individuals achieve meaningful outcomes in a variety of areas including communication, independence, and living skills, just to name a few.

Good ABA programs seek to understand your child's specific individual needs to maximize his or her learning opportunities. ABA programs should be highly specific and tailored to meet the identified outcomes of families and individuals. 

There is a lot of misleading, scary information out there and false claims when it comes to the "cure" for Autism. It's important to recognize there is no "cure" for Autism. From miracle mineral solutions (which was essentially bleach), to anti-vax campaigns, oxygen chambers, and other snake oil products, there is a long history of failed products, treatments, and fads when it comes to the treatment of Autism. Many failed treatment options have come and gone over the years, however, ABA is the only recognized form of therapy approved for the treatment of children with Autism by the US Surgeon General and The American Psychological Association. 

A little history about ABA

Behavior Analysis was popularized by B.F. Skinner in the 1930s with his research and contributions in Science and Human Behavior and The Behavior of Organisms. Through his discovery of "operant conditioning" he was able to clearly demonstrate how organisms and humans learn in the environment. His greatest contribution might have been his work in Verbal Behavior where he described a detailed functional analysis of how language and verbal behavior is acquired.

The Applied part of Applied Behavior Analysis refers to how we use all of the research, technology, and discoveries in the field of human behavior to make an actual difference in our day to day lives. In other words, "How are we applying the science to make a difference where it matters?" ABA aims to make meaningful changes that lead to meaningful outcomes, that ultimately improves the quality of life. 

Can ABA stop my child's Problem Behaviors?

ABA is able to break down complex behaviors into manageable units of single behaviors or responses. Problem behaviors often appear when there is a skill deficit or skill weakness in communication. When a child is unable to communicate his or her needs effectively, we tend to see higher rates of problem behavior to get these needs met. By targeting specific communication skills to increase, we are able to effectively reduce the "need" for intense problem behaviors. Effective functional communication training in addition to some environmental modifications can play a huge part in reducing the frequency and severity of problem behaviors in children.

 

Each child interacts with the environment in different ways. Our comprehensive skill assessments explore 16 key developmental domains to identify possible learning and language barriers. Once a child's skill levels are assessed and potential barriers are identified by our expert clinical team, a custom program is uniquely crafted to maximize skill growth and development. We work closely with our families to provide compassionate care and to equip caregivers with the skills necessary to continue progress and development at home and in the community.