Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) benefit from ABA therapy because ABA focuses on giving children the skills they need to live their lives. ABA therapists are trained to use positive reinforcement techniques to encourage children with autism to continue desired behaviors. Some examples of desired behaviors would be making eye contact while talking to someone, controlling disruptive behaviors like screaming or aggression, and pronouncing words correctly. ABA therapists will observe your child and create a treatment plan based on what they see. Treatment plans can be adjusted as children reach their goals.
How do you know if ABA is right for your family? This ultimate guide will answer that question and more!
Why was the ABA Created?
Psychologists Ivar Lovaas and Robert Koegel in the 1970s. It was based on the finding that when behavior is rewarded, it is more likely to be repeated. ABA therapy techniques for ASD started with Discrete Trial Training (DTT), which is one technique we use at Learning Continuum in Katy, TX. There are other types of ABA techniques, such as PRT and PECS, which can be incorporated into therapy sessions. In the 1970s, the goal was to decrease negative behaviors by rewarding positive behaviors. While that is one goal of ABA therapy today, it is not the only goal. children with autism need to improve their life skills, and ABA therapy is the best way to help them meet that goal.
What Does ABA Stand For?
In order to understand what ABA therapy does for autism, you must first understand what ABA therapy is. ABA stands for Applied Behavior Analysis, which is a therapy based on the science of learning and behavior. As mentioned earlier, ABA uses many techniques for understanding and changing behavior. ABA treatments are flexible, meaning they can be adjusted based on your child’s current needs. At Learning Continuum, our programs take place in our ABA center. However, our center has many toys and a private outdoor playground to help your child feel comfortable and safe during therapy sessions.
One of the main goals is to decrease problem behaviors that often come with autism. Some of these behaviors include:
- Difficulties with social communication, especially verbal and nonverbal.
- Deficits in social interactions.
- Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities.
- Sensory problems.
- Disruptive behaviors, like screaming and aggression.
ABA therapy will help your child learn to not only control these behaviors but utilize other communication techniques in a social setting like school or an event. Learning Continuum will help you find the best treatment plan for your child.
What Does a Typical Week of ABA Therapy Look Like?
We have found that the best way for children with autism to learn is through play. Toddlers and kindergartners build dexterity in their hands when they practice fine motor skills through arts and crafts and fine motor skill-building toys. They also learn social skills through play, like turn-taking and patience, as well as verbal and nonverbal communication. ABA therapy sessions are typically one-on-one so each therapist can focus on each child. Parents are allowed to observe sessions from a private room so they can observe their child without being present. This only aids the treatment process since your child will act differently without you around.
Children in ABA therapy will receive 10-40 hours of treatment per week. Some of the skills they will work on include:
- Language and Communication Skills
- Play Skills
- Fine Motor skills
- Independent Living Skills
- And More
LC offers two types of ABA therapy sessions: Focused ABA and comprehensive ABA.
Focused ABA therapy sessions are 10-20 hours of treatment per week. A child with ASD may attend school during the day, then attend therapy sessions in the afternoon. Comprehensive therapy sessions are 20-40 hours of treatment per week and are better suited for children with more severe behaviors. However, we want your child to succeed, and we will work with them for as long as they need to make sure they meet their goals.
Does ABA Therapy Work for Autism?
There are many scientific studies that prove ABA therapy works for autism. There are also many stories online about adults who went through ABA therapy as a kid. Some adults have claimed success, “such as 23-year-old Alex Lowery who said, ‘If I hadn’t had the ABA, I don’t think I would have the same level of control over my anger that I have…as a child, I couldn’t even walk into a shop because my senses were so heightened. I was helped to cope with this in my therapy.'”
ABA therapy is a useful tool that children with ASD benefit from. With the right ABA therapist, children will make leaps and bounds in their treatment.
Is ABA Right for Your Family?
Now that you understand what ABA is and how it works, is ABA right for your family? First, you should consider what areas your child needs to work on. Then, you can call Learning Continuum and set up an intake session. The intake session helps us determine where your child is at, what goals they need to meet, and how long it will take to meet those goals.
We will work with you to create the right treatment plan that works with your schedule. If your child has therapy sessions with other specialists, our plans are flexible and can be rearranged for your satisfaction.
Contact Learning Continuum today!