Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a therapeutic intervention that aims at improving general adaptive behaviors such as social, communication, and learning skills using reinforcement techniques. Additionally, the technique focuses on specific skill learning like fine motor dexterity, hygiene, grooming, etc. It is also referred to as Autism Behavioral Therapy (ABT).
However, ABT is just one of ABA’s applications. ABA is effective for both children and adults with psychological conditions and other developmental disabilities in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, homes, and clinics. The Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) approach significantly benefits autistic children and adults in improving their communication, cognitive, and behavioral skills.
What is the goal of ABA therapy?
The goal of ABA therapy depends largely on your child’s individual needs. However, ABA often leads to the following improvements in children with autism:
- Improved intellectual aptitude and communication skills
- Understanding and showing more interest in surroundings and people around them
- Learn to ask for things they want (a certain toy or food, for instance) clearly and specifically
- Reduced self-harming or unsafe behaviors
- Improved attention and memory
- Having fewer meltdowns or other outbursts
- Improve language and communication skills
How Does ABA Therapy Work?
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is actually a type of interpersonal therapy based on the psychology of learning and behavioral trades. ABA therapy applies the understanding of how behavior works in real-life situations to increase behaviors that are helpful and lower self-harming or unsafe behaviors. The treatment can be provided in different settings/locations such as – home, school, or clinics.
ABA therapy works on the autism spectrum by:
- Increasing social abilities like completing tasks, communicating, and learning new skills.
- Teaching maintenance behaviors like self-control and self-regulation.
- Making a child understand how to transfer learned behaviors to new environments.
- Modifying the learning environment to challenge them in certain conditions.
- Making the child understand the difference between safe and unsafe behavior.
What Is ABA Treatment for Autism at The Play Base?
Over the years, ABA therapy has constantly evolved and improved. However, certified behavioral analysts use certain basic ABA techniques and strategies to help children with an autism spectrum disorder. Some of the techniques therapists use at The Play Base are:
- Discrete trial teaching (DTT): The technique breaks down lessons into simple tasks and teaches the child to work on the tasks step by step. Children are rewarded for achievements after successfully employing a cue-and-response structure. For example, in teaching behavioral skills like ‘pick up the glass,’ the therapist will typically ask for the desired behavior and may instruct pointing out at the glass, reward the correct answer, and repeat the process until the behavior is learned. DTT may be used for speech improvement, social and motor skills, etc.
- Picture exchange communication system (PECS): The technique involves using pictures to improve the communication and vocabulary skills of the child. The child, working with a card set having pictures of toys, foods, or other objects, gives the therapist an image of a desired object. In return, the therapist offers the object shown in the picture. The technique can be used with children who lack speech skills as a way for them to communicate their needs. However, it can also enhance the communication skills of those who can speak but face difficulty expressing their needs in a socially adaptive way. The technique helps them progress through increasingly sophisticated vocabulary and sentence structure.
- Contingent Imitation: This learning strategy is executed in a group of people of the same age. After showing a child that the behavior is unacceptable, the child is instructed to step away from the activity for a few minutes, sit in a chair nearby, and watch the appropriate behavior of other students. The Play Base’s approach to behavior therapy works by reshaping neural networks to improve long-range connectivity. Our ABA program is a comprehensive, integrated clinical program led by a team of dedicated and experienced medical professionals.
Some of the other training are:
- Pivotal response training: The technique focuses on improving motivation, responding to multiple cues, understanding the social setting structure, and self-regulation.
- Natural environment teaching (NET): The technique allows the child to learn new skills using the child’s toys and surroundings. This allows the children to learn at their own pace throughout the day based on the context of their regular routines.
Some of the principles of ABA therapy have been able to provide to autistic children and adults are:
- Reduced aggression
- Improved communication
- Daily life skills such as Potty training, brushing teeth, grooming, etc.
- Social skills
- Play and leisure
- Self-care and lower incidences of self-harm
At The Play Base, skilled ABA therapists conduct sessions wherever clinically appropriate in your home, our center, and the community. Examples of The Play Base’s ABA Therapy options include:
- In-center or in-home ABA with parent training.
- Focused one-on-one interactive programs designed to help with specific challenging behaviors.
- Small group programs for specific social skills, like cognitive observation and imitation (suitable for ages 6-18).
- In-person and telehealth social opportunities, in case traveling to a particular location or center aren’t possible.
The Play Base’s ABA therapy program also offers group parent training sessions to help families support their child’s ongoing development outside of therapy and learn more about The Play Base’s support programs and services.
What Is the Process for Starting ABA at The Play Base?
Children enrolled in our program are first assessed to draft a Therapy plan and specific recommendations for future ABA services. These assessments help us determine if services are best provided in a 1:1 in-home or in-center format and in case group services will be clinically appropriate. After completing the assessment, our supervisor and therapist will contact you to discuss a therapy plan. Our team comprises certified therapists and supervisors who will deliver therapy directly to your child.
Is ABA Right for Your Child?
ABA has benefited many children living with Autism Spectrum Disorder by assisting them with learning developmental skills. The therapy can help improve social and communication skills while reducing harmful behaviors, including self-harm.
While ABA is considered the most effective therapy for helping with symptoms found in children diagnosed with ASD (such as hyperactivity, delayed language skills, or self-injurious behaviors), this treatment may not be considered the best choice for all children.
Will My Insurance Cover Autism Therapy?
Most insurance companies typically provide ABA therapy insurance coverage depending on its medical necessity. However, the criteria for assessing medical necessity may vary between insurance companies. Hence, it is best to check with your insurance company first. At The Play Base, we work with various health insurance plans. We can provide you with benefits and cost estimation before beginning services.
ABA therapy has been found significantly effective in addressing communication and social skills such as understanding emotions, interacting with others, and understanding figurative language. Other areas addressed in ABA therapy include important life skills, self-advocacy, etc.
At The Play Base, ABA therapy is customized according to each child’s unique strengths and needs. Our team of professionals strives to create a deep and meaningful impact in every one of our client’s lives. We would love to assist you with the developmental journey of your child and help you reach your goals using evidence-based approaches in Applied Behaviour Analysis. Book an appointment today!