There are various therapy options for children with autism, but applied behavioral analysis (ABA therapy) is considered as one of the best available out there. This therapy believes that desirable outcomes can improve behavior while undesirable outcomes can decrease behavior.
In other words, positive outcomes associated with behavior can lead to a continuance of that behavior and negative outcomes can reduce the chances of that behavior happening again. This post discusses why ABA therapy is right for your child.
Why your child should have ABA therapy
Applied behavioral analysis therapy or ABA therapy is an autism therapy that can improve the communication, learning, and social skills of your child through positive reinforcements. Various experts believe ABA therapy to be one of the best autism therapy treatments for children with autism or any other health condition.
ABA therapy can sometimes be used to treat other conditions, such as dementia, substance misuse, eating disorders, and anger issues. ABA therapy can involve several phases that allow the therapist to come up with the best approach for your child with autism. Below are some of the stages involved to get ABA therapy:
Consultation and assessment
First of all, you need to consult a therapist who is well-trained in applied behavioral analysis. This consultation is known as a functional behavior assessment and the therapist may ask about your child’s abilities, strengths, and challenges.
In most cases, a therapist can spend a lot of time interacting with your child so that they can observe their behavior, skills, and communication level. There is also a good chance that they can visit your home or the child’s school to assess your child’s behavior while doing daily activities.
Effective autism treatment can vary for every child. Therefore, the ABA therapist should tell you the specific interventions that can meet your child’s needs. Besides this, they can also suggest putting in place some integrating strategies into your home. Check at https://www.autismparentingmagazine.com/aba-therapy-for-autism/ for more information about ABA therapy.
Developing a plan
After the initial consultation and assessment, the therapist can use their observations to create a plan for therapy for your child. This plan needs to fit with your child’s needs and should include clear treatment goals.
These goals can usually include reducing harmful or problematic behaviors, such as self-injury, tantrums, and improving communication and many other skills. The plan may also have specific strategies teachers, caregivers, and therapists can utilize to reach treatment goals. In this way, everyone who may be working with your child can know what they need to do.
Some of the specific interventions include early intensive behavioral intervention. This is usually used for children who are five years or under. It involves an individualized curriculum that is designed to teach your child communication, functional and adaptive skills, and social interaction. Others are discrete trial training that aims to teach your child skills via structured task completion and rewards.
ABA therapy can also rely on caregivers and parents to help to reinforce desired behavior after your child is not in therapy. Therefore, your child’s therapist can teach you and even the teachers of your child about the right strategies to help to reinforce the positive behaviors. This means you can learn how to avoid certain less effective reinforcements like giving in to your child’s tantrums.
ABA therapists aim to find out the causes of specific behaviors so that they can assist your child to improve or change them. So during therapy, they can use an approach that is based on the response of your child to certain interventions.
While your child is receiving continuous treatment, the therapist may continue to assess their progress and check which strategies are more effective and where your child can benefit through other treatment strategies.
Keep in mind that ABA therapy may depend on the needs of your child. But it often results in autistic children showing more interest in those around them, having more focus at school, communicating effectively with other people, reducing or even stopping self-harming behavior, and many more.
How you can find an ABA therapist
Before you start looking for an ABA therapist for your autistic child, it’s a good idea to remember that the cost of ABA varies. The cost usually depends on the therapy needs of your child, the person providing the therapy, and the program you decide to choose. Ideally, the ABA programs that have more services can have a higher cost.
The good news is that ABA therapy can sometimes be taken at your home. There is evidence that suggests that some children with autism do best when they take the therapy at home because they are more comfortable in their normal surroundings. Even better, it can also improve their other life skills like using the bathroom and getting dressed.
However, you should only choose ABA therapy at home if there is a licensed therapist who is willing to help. A therapist can help you to come up with the right program that matches your child’s needs.
If you decide to use an ABA therapist, then you should ask your child’s pediatrician. They are in a better position of giving you a referral or they can recommend someone.
Alternatively, you can search online to see if you can find any local providers. It makes sense to get an ABA therapist who is certified so that you can rest assured that your child is receiving the right treatment. You may also find other professionals who may not be ABA certified but they still offer ABA training and even provide therapy that can work well for your autistic child.
The bottom line is that ABA therapy benefits many children with autism by assisting them to learn some key developmental skills. Best of all, it can improve your child’s communication abilities while decreasing some harmful behaviors, such as self-injury.
That said, you should be aware that ABA therapy is just one of the many autism treatments available out there. So if your child with autism or your loved one has autism, perhaps you can try ABA therapy.