Who are we? What is ABA?

Hello everyone! We are STEPS ABA, and we are so excited to launch our brand new blog! We are a company that provides Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) based in Pikesville, Maryland. Our founder and clinical director, Erin Stern, has extensive experience working with children and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). She taught preschool-5th grade special education in Howard County for 10 years primarily in self-contained classrooms. Erin has also been working in homes supporting clients and their families for over 13 years. She practices as a licensed Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).

Before we dive into our proven strategies, we want to give an overview of ABA and why it’s effective for clients with ASD. ABA is the science and study of behavior and focuses on learning and how we learn. It looks at the function of a particular behavior in order to determine why someone engages in that behavior. Scientists have identified 4 main functions of behavior: escape, attention, sensory stimulation, and access to an item. Once we figure out which function the behavior serves, we can move forward with planning appropriate therapy.

There are 7 key components of ABA that we remember by saying #GETACAB. The G stands for Generalization, which means that clients transfer skills we teach from the teaching environment to multiple scenarios and environments. The E stands for Effective, which means that we monitor interventions as therapy goes on to evaluate the impact of target behavior. The T stands for Technological, which means that we clearly explain procedures so that clients can replicate those procedures. A means Applied, meaning that therapy addresses behaviors that are socially significant for the clients. C stands for Conceptually Systematic because we used research-based practices when we conduct therapy. The second A means Analytic, and it stems from Conceptually Systematic therapy in that we make data-based decisions as therapy goes on. Lastly, the B stands for Behavior, meaning that behaviors are observable and measurable.

The key components and principles of ABA call for a team-based approach. At STEPS, we use a team approach for every client. Teams consist of the BCBA, Registered Behavior Technician (RBT), families, any related service providers (physical therapist, speech pathologist, etc.), and teachers. The RBT is the person who goes into clients’ homes regularly to implement treatment and behavior plans. BCBAs regularly monitor the data the RBTs and sometimes families are taking, supervise RBTs and consult with the other team members to make sure all team members are implementing effective therapy. The goal is that all team members are on the same page with strategies and that we all collaborate to implement the best strategies for our clients’ progress!