Behavioral Therapy Services: Transformative ABA Therapy

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What is Applied Behaviour Analysis?
Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA is a therapy given to children who engage in challenging behavior or have delays in reaching their developmental milestones. The therapy is evidence-based and proven to work and can be modified as per child’s specific needs & interests. It’s delivered in one-on-one sessions.
What problem does ABA solve?
We need to understand that children don’t engage in challenging behaviours deliberately. There are certain skills missing in the child which helps him to communicate or cope with the situation. The children who have developmental delays in the areas of language & speech, social skills, imitation skills, play skills, etc, problem behaviour becomes their only channel to express their unmet needs because they only rely on behaviours which were previously reinforced. ABA looks after these particular areas of growth. It teaches the child corrective behaviour as well as teaches them daily living skills. Developmentally, every child is different, hence the therapy is designed catering to his/her specific needs.
ABA helps in improving skills
  • Teaches daily living skills
  • Improves language & communication
  • Increases play skills and helps the child socialize
  • Cognitive development
  • Strengthening visual perceptual skills
  • Reduces problem behaviours
  • Boosts academic skills
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ABA Is Evidence Based!
The American Psychological Association (APA) considers Applied Behaviour Analysis as an evidence-based practice. ABA is the only therapy that receives reimbursement by insurance companies in the United States for paediatric behavioural disorders. Apart from the USA, it is the standard of care in Canada, Australia and the Middle East. Multiple studies on the effectiveness of ABA have shown significant improvements in daily living skills, increase in communication & language, play skills, socialization, and growth in academic skills among children.
ABA involves parents equally
The biggest benefit of Applied Behavior Analysis is that parents can also take training to manage their child’s behavior. Whatever skills that are taught to the child in a center; parents can implement those practices at home. If parents face any difficulty, they can consult their behavior analyst or supervisor in a bi-weekly session.
What are the fundamental principles of Applied Behavior Analysis?
  • ● Behavior is strengthened (reinforced) and weakened (punished) through consequences that occur directly after the behavior.

  • ● Behaviors can be "extinguished" by withholding reinforcement for behaviors that were previously reinforced.

  • ● All behavior occurs for a reason. There are four potential functions of behavior-escape/avoidance, attention/connection, access to tangibles, and automatic reinforcement (sensory).

  • ● Behaviors targeted must be observable and measurable.

  • ● Modifying environmental variables (antecedents and consequences) can increase or decrease the likelihood of target behaviors.
What are the techniques and Methods used?

Applied Behavior Analysis encompasses a wide range of techniques and methods. Some clinicians are trained and experienced in specific methodologies. Others are trained across multiple practices and individualized care based on the needs of their learners.

● Discrete Trial Training (DTT)
Discrete-trial training (DTT) is a common teaching strategy used in Applied Behavior Analysis therapy sessions. DTT is a structured method for teaching new skills. In DTT, one skill is focused on at a time. Each skill is taught individually, with a discrete beginning and end for each learning opportunity. DTT consists of an instruction, followed by the response, immediately followed by a consequence of reinforcement or correction. DTT requires a considerable amount of repetition until targeted skills are mastered.
● Incidental Teaching
Incidental teaching is a method of providing instruction within a child’s natural environment. Incidental teaching uses a child’s natural interests and motivation to target learning opportunities. While DTT is therapist-led, Incidental teaching is a child-led method of instruction.
● Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT)
Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) is a method built on Applied Behavior Analysis principles that is similar to incidental teaching but with more structure and repetition. The goal of PRT is to target pivotal areas in a child’s development, such as motivation, responding to multiple cues, self-management, and self-initiation. PRT uses a child’s natural motivation and interests and builds on these while teaching vital life skills. Communication, language, play, and social skills are key areas of focus in PRT.
● Verbal Behavior Approach (VB)
The verbal behavior approach can be used with all ages, though is commonly used with toddlers and preschoolers who are rapidly acquiring language. Therapists trained in the verbal behavior approach teach children to use language based on the function or meaning behind the word. In the verbal behavior approach, children are taught to mand (request), tact (label), respond to receptive instructions, imitate actions, intra verbally communicate, and more.
Common Techniques in ABA
Common Techniques in ABA
Applied Behavior Analysis therapy is most commonly used with children with autism and other neurodevelopmental challenges. Through Applied Behavior Analysis, these children develop language and communication skills, social skills, improve focus, learn academic skills, reduce interfering behaviors, and more. Other applications of Applied Behavior Analysis include education, clinical behavior analysis, sports and fitness, parent training and behavioral pediatrics.

There are a number of common techniques used in Applied Behavior Analysis. Let’s review a few commonly used behavioral techniques.

● Positive reinforcement:
At the heart of behavior change is positive reinforcement . By adding something valuable after a desired behavior, the behavior is more likely to occur again in the future. Positive reinforcement is embedded throughout Applied Behavior Analysis sessions to increase socially significant behaviors.
● Shaping
By reinforcing successive approximations toward an end goal, target behavior is shaped. Behavior change does not happen overnight. Through shaping, you’ll see small progress towards the optimal goal.
● Functional communication training (FCT)
FCT is a process of identifying the function of a learner’s interfering behavior and implementing functional ways of communicating their needs. If a child, for example, hits others to gain their attention, FCT would work by teaching and reinforcing alternative ways of communicating their desire for someone’s attention.

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