Parenting a child on the autism spectrum can be one of the toughest, most overwhelming jobs you will ever have. Your daily life revolves around your child, from dealing with meltdowns to driving to various therapies. Alzein Pediatrics knows that while your role is exhausting, your child is struggling even more. We’re here to explain how we can all help your child better cope, to improve the well-being of your entire family.
Many children easily learn life skills from their environment without intervention, but children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or with other learning, developmental or behavior issues may have difficulty learning language and communication skills, social skills and behavioral norms from the people and environments around them. These children often need a more structured environment to acquire the same fundamental skills that other children absorb unconsciously.
Applied Behavior Analysis therapy (ABA) sets up this type of environment and teaches children how to learn. ABA is implemented for children with ASD by many teachers and therapists to help develop basic skills like listening and imitating, as well as more complex skills such as reading and having conversations. ABA therapy can also enhance practitioners’ and families’ understanding of ASD by increasing behaviors that are helpful and decreasing the behaviors that can interfere with your child’s learning.
ABA therapy programs can help:
• Increase language skills
• Improve attention, focus, social skills, memory, and academics
• Decrease problem behaviors
• Teach life skills
Why use ABA Therapy?
Therapists have used ABA to help children with ASD and other disorders since the 1960s. According to autismspeaks.org, these methods of behavior analysis have been used and studied for decades. ABA therapy an established, scientific approach to improving human behavior and has been shown to produce many important and socially significant changes. ABA can positively impact communication, academic, social and adaptive skills for people of all ages and skill sets. ABA therapists have helped many kinds of learners gain different skills for healthier lifestyles.
Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence
ABA therapy begins with the concept of contingency or the cause-and-effect relationship between events. This is often referred to as the ABC’s of ABA.
- Antecedent: The antecedent is the cause; it’s what happened just before the behavior. It can be verbal, such as a command or request. It can also be physical, such a toy or other object, or a light or sound, or something else in the environment.
- Behavior: This is what we do in response to the antecedent. It can be an action or a verbal response.
- Consequences: The consequence is what happens directly after our behavior. It can include positive reinforcement for positive behavior or no reaction for incorrect/inappropriate responses.
Being human means we’re each different and unique. The goal of any ABA program is to help each person work on skills that will help them become more independent and successful both in the short term and for the future. ABA is a flexible treatment and will be adapted to meet the needs of each unique person enrolled in therapy. Each program is customized to the individual child’s specific skills, needs, interests, preferences, goals and family’s wishes. Nearly every ABA program will look different!
If your child is diagnosed with ASD, there are many ways to help your child to consider. Talk to your Alzein Pediatrics medical professional about Applied Behavior Analysis as one of the tools to help your child succeed.
Want to learn more? Attend our ASD Seminar with Trisha Ianbotta, Board Certified Behavior Analyst on April 22 at 6:30 pm! Mark your calendar and watch our social media and your email for details to follow!