At this point, you may be wondering about how ABA can help your child. Luckily, there has been extensive research about the effectiveness of ABA for different children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Today, we are going to present STEPS’s Top 10 Reasons ABA can help your child. Let’s dive in!
10. All decisions are data-driven. Whenever we provide recommendations for moving forward with a certain method of therapy, you can always count on us having looked at data before making that recommendation. All of the decisions and recommendations we make are based on the data we gather both in the assessment process and throughout therapy. Needs for clients evolve as therapy progresses, so we regularly monitor progress and make adjustments to the therapy plan as time passes.
9. It helps clients live happy and meaningful lives. It’s important to remember that we are client-centered in our therapy approach. Yes, the data is pertinent in our decision-making, but this data is taken from meaningful goals for each client. We make therapy decisions and goals relevant to clients’ daily living so they can continue living successfully and happily post-therapy.
8. Therapy involves the whole family. Families are always integrated into therapy because they play a vital role in the success of their children. Oftentimes, we write goals for families into the behavior plan! This ensures them that they are part of therapy and gives them strategies for coping with their children’s needs. This also ensures generalization, meaning that clients will apply their skills learned in behavior therapy across all settings. Clients can only do this if they are given the same behavioral expectations both in and out of therapy.
7. We integrate therapy into our clients’ daily lives. A common misconception of ABA is that we spend all of therapy using discrete trial training and that all we do is sit down and bark orders at the clients. This is not the case! We conduct therapy in clients’ homes and integrate ourselves in their daily routines. This allows us to use a more naturalistic teaching style that is oftentimes easier for clients to grasp. We play games to teach clients to take turns, we model asking their parents for a snack, and we help clients interact with their other family members.
6. ABA uses a team-based approach. Every client has a therapy team that collaborates to make decisions about intervention plans. Teams typically consist of a BCBA, Registered Behavior Technician (RBT), families, teachers, and any other related service providers. Related service providers include speech-language pathologists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists. Using this team approach helps BCBAs provide recommendations for behavior intervention because it gives a comprehensive picture of the client. We need this information to give strategies to the team when behaviors arise in certain scenarios.
5. Therapy can take place in different settings to promote generalization. As previously mentioned, generalization is a HUGE part of behavior intervention. We want clients to be able to apply their skills in all settings, including school, home, and even in the community. Applying their skills across all areas will help them learn more effectively and help form more meaningful relationships with peers and educators.
4. Plans are catered to each client for an individualized approach. We construct behavior plans for each client on an individual basis. One important aspect of ASD to remember is that no client is ever the same as another. We have seen clients all across the spectrum, so this requires us to carefully plan each client’s intervention. Everyone is unique regardless of ability level, and we take this into account when planning and implementing therapy. Applying the same therapy plan to all clients would make ABA very ineffective. Individualizing the cases helps us view the clients as individuals and helps the families realize that we genuinely care about the well-being of their children.
3. Part of therapy is parent training to implement therapy in natural settings. Part of integrating families into therapy is writing training goals and plans for parents. We understand that implementing behavior therapy in a natural setting, so providing support for parents helps them give their children the same behavior standards at home that they are used to in therapy.
2. It serves to find better ways to adapt to the environment. Oftentimes, clients come into therapy because they have trouble adapting to shifts in the environment. These difficulties can manifest themselves in behavioral challenges, most notably in self-injurious behavior, aggression, and stereotypic behavior. Stereotypic behavior is any behavior that is repetitive in nature, whether it be a repeated utterance or motion. ABA provides clients with the skills they need to cope with their environment in ways that are not harmful to themselves or others. For example, instead of throwing a worksheet away when it is too hard, clients will know to ask someone for help completing it.
1. Clients come out with more effective communication. Throughout therapy, we see significant gains in communication between clients and other people in the environment. This manifests itself in different ways depending on the communication levels clients already had. For example, we can help a nonverbal client learn how to use sign language and use short phrases. Or, if the client already uses limited verbal communication, we help him/her go from phrases to sentences and increase the length of sentences.