Most people have not heard about Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy until they find out their child is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their Primary Care Physician recommends it. It isn’t as well known as Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) or Occupational Therapy (OT). However, it is foundational in making the child and family more successful in most areas of their lives, including visits to SLP or OT specialists. Oftentimes, ABA providers work with parents, PCP, SLP and OT providers, insurances, and the school systems to create a unique treatment plan to help the child with their development.
With all of the talk about Applied Behavior Analysis increasing, especially as the number of children diagnosed with ASD is increasing, what is it? One definition of ABA describes it as a research-based, data-driven science of learning and behavior. That means that the ABA Provider is using proven methods to produce behavior modification and they track the results to verify its effectiveness and to increase its effectiveness in the future. There should be evidence and data to support the treatment plan and documentation showing the goals the child has accomplished.
ABA is so effective that it is becoming the quintessential treatment to help children with autism. In fact, ABA has been endorsed by organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, National Academies of Science, Autism Speaks, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NIH), and the Surgeon General. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, “The effectiveness of ABA-based intervention in ASDs has been well-documented through five decades of research… Children who receive early intensive behavioral treatment have been shown to make substantial, sustained gains in IQ, language, academic performance, and adaptive behavior as well as some measures of social behavior, and their outcomes have been significantly better than those of children in control groups.”
Numerous studies have been conducted indicating that ABA is a highly effective method of teaching children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. The therapy is often utilized to improve a variety of skills and adaptive behaviors. Such behaviors include strengthened ability in the following areas:
– social skills
– positive peer support
– academic engagement
– functional living skills, and more
ABA Therapy is also effective in reducing challenging behaviors. Treatment helps reduce occurrences of noncompliance within the child, as well as tantrums, bed-wetting, feeding problems, aggression, and self-harm. Its proven effectiveness brings peace to the household and strengthens bonds for the child with family members and peers.
If the reader has a child with autism or related developmental disability, then it is worth reaching out to your PCP or a local ABA Provider for more information. ABC Behavior has over ten locations in Virginia and a couple in the Richmond Metro Area. Their providers would be glad to hear about the child and share about how Applied Behavior Analysis can help. Their contact information is found at www.abcbehavior.org/locations.