ABA Explained

Applied Behavior Analysis is a type of intensive therapy that focuses on the principles and techniques of learning theory to help improve social behavior. ABA therapy helps to (1) develop new skills, (2) shape and refine previously learned skills, and (3) decrease socially significant problem behaviors.

ABA is a scientifically validated approach to understanding learning and behavior by looking at the function of the behavior and the environment in which it occurs. Anything a person does is a behavior (talking, eating, coloring, tying shoes, etc.) and ABA looks at the purpose behind those actions and under what circumstances they occur, in order to change them or teach new, more functional ways of doing something. For example, if a child screams when eating lunch, ABA would look at the environment around him to determine why he is screaming and then determine what would be a more appropriate way of getting that same thing.

The principles of ABA have been applied since the early 1960’s with both children and adults with developmental disorders. Today there are a wide variety of ABA techniques that have been developed to help learners develop and build functional skills.

ABA is the only therapy that has been endorsed by the U.S. Surgeon General as an effective treatment for autism. ABA is also endorsed by a number of other federal and state agencies. The United States has seen a dramatic increase in the use of Applied Behavior Analysis to help those with autism live functional, productive, and happy lives.

One of the reasons ABA therapy is so effective is that it systematically looks at the basics of learning and then builds upon them. The therapists and clinical team look closely at the skills your child has and needs to work on, building a plan tailored to their needs and learning style. Our therapists look at your child’s needs, skills, interests, preferences, and family environment. This means that the ABA program that your child is following will look different than the program of another child. Goals are determined based on this plan and once a goal is met, the team moves on to the next step. It’s all about breaking things down into teachable steps, and then building on them to make your child as independent as possible.


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