What is ABA and How Does It Benefit Kids with Autism?

According to the CDC, 1 in 44 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder each year, less than what it was several years ago. ASD is defined as a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. ASD can be detected as early as 18 months, with more average diagnoses at age 2. While a diagnosis may seem scary, there are many programs available to help children diagnosed with ASD.

If your child has received an autism spectrum diagnosis, it isn’t the end of the world. ASD symptoms can be addressed and treated through ABA therapy. ABA therapy has been scientifically proven to benefit children with autism well into adulthood. If you suspect your child may have autism, and you’re looking for a diagnosis, there are 3 main symptoms to observe in your child.

  1. Limited or delayed social skills.
  2. Communication delays or challenges.
  3. Unique behaviors, like repetition, sensory issues, and destructive behaviors.

If your child exhibits any of these three symptoms, you should have your child assessed for ASD.

Once your child has received a diagnosis, then you should look into treatment options. As mentioned earlier, ABA therapy is one of the best treatments for autism.

What is ABA Therapy for Autism?

ABA therapy is applied behavior analysis. It was discovered in the 1970s to be the best intervention for negative behaviors in children. ABA therapy rewards children for positive behaviors and does not reward negative behaviors. It is built upon the finding that rewards for behavior encourage that behavior to be repeated. Many people have had success with ABA therapy because it teaches them important life skills, such as independent living and social skills.

ABA therapies have been used for 44 years, and they are proven to be the best autism treatment today. ABA therapy for children is done in sessions over an extended period of time to ensure your child’s goals are met. ABA therapists are trained to teach you and your child techniques to decrease negative behaviors and increase life skills through play. Research shows that play is the best way for children to learn new skills.

Children use social, language, and fine motor skills while they are playing. They practice turn-taking and patience, speaking, and using their muscles to accomplish different tasks. ABA therapists work with children with autism, one-on-one, to help improve these skills while playing and give positive rewards for desired behaviors.

Types of ABA Treatments

There are many types of ABA treatments available. Two that are well-known are comprehensive ABA and focused ABA.

Comprehensive ABA

Comprehensive ABA treatments are provided for 20-40 hours a week for several months. This type of treatment focuses on teaching life skills and decreasing disruptive behaviors. Techniques focus more on DTT (Discrete Trial Training) because the steps to build a skill can be broken down into smaller goals. Once the child accomplishes the first step of a skill, they can move on to the next. This is repeated until the skill is achieved.

When a treatment plan is being created, ABA therapists observe your child to see what skills need to be improved. Once goals are established, children will meet with their therapist weekly to make sure goals are met.

Focused ABA

Focused ABA treatments are typically 10-20 hours per week and focus on improving specific skills. These treatments are best for children with autism that need help with improving one or two skills, such as language and communication, rather than a lot of skills at once. Some children need more help than others, in which case the comprehensive ABA treatments may be better. 

Minimizing or stopping destructive behaviors is a priority of focused ABA therapy. Some of these behaviors are self-injury, destroying property, or hurting others. Minimizing these behaviors is vital to helping your child learn more life skills.

Why Choose ABA Therapy for Autism?

There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach when it comes to treating autism in children. All children are unique in their own ways, especially children with autism. Since autism is considered a neurological disorder, every child will have their own unique challenges. ABA therapy treatment plans are customized for your child based on their unique challenges.

Children with speech delays will benefit from ABA therapy because ABA therapy focuses on improving verbal and communication skills. Your child likely wants to socialize and communicate with others, but literally can’t because of their condition. ABA therapy will help your child learn to communicate effectively so you and others can understand them.

Through the use of DTT, ABA therapists will help you find what is challenging your child the most. Because DTT breaks skills down into smaller steps, you will be able to see exactly what your child is finding difficult about that skill. Throwing a ball is a great example. Maybe they don’t understand what you’re saying. Maybe they do understand but just can’t make their body do what they want it to do. That is why ABA therapy is so useful for children with autism!

When you’re ready to take the leap and find an ABA therapist for your child, reach out to Learning Continuum in Katy, TX. Learning Continuum wants your child to succeed and will work with you to create the best treatment plan for them. Our therapists will teach you and your child techniques to use in any environment. Contact us today for more information!

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