Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that varies in severity and affects people differently. It refers to a broad range of conditions that impact social skills, speech and nonverbal communication, and may cause obsessive interests and repetitive behaviors.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 54 children in the United States.
Each child with autism experiences unique symptoms, so the treatment should meet the specific needs of the child. Various therapies are proven to treat ASD successfully, but ABA therapy is an evidence-based treatment proven to be one of the most effective.
ABA, or Applied Behavior Analysis, helps teach kids various skills, including social, motor, and verbal behaviors, through motivation and positive reinforcement. Children and adults may require one-on-one therapy for an average of 10-40 hours each week to get the most benefits and achieve their goals.
ABA therapy can also be used to treat other health conditions, such as severe pain, tensions, dementia, eating disorders, and anger.
Goals of ABA Therapy For Autism
Some practical goals of ABA Therapy include:
- Create effective communication between children and the people in their everyday lives
- Understand the root cause of problem behaviors and use function-based replacements
- Help individuals with autism achieve daily skills and gain independence
How does ABA therapy work?
ABA helps treat individuals with autism by following a tailored approach based on their specific needs. It involves the following phases:
Phase 1: Consultation and assessment
A qualified team which includes BCBAs, BCaBAs, and RBTs will meet with the family to discuss abilities, strengths, goals, and areas of concern. The team will conduct an interview, observation, and formal assessment to identify causes of problem behaviors, development, and areas of improvement.
In the Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) consultation, the therapist finds out about the child’s abilities, strengths, and the things that challenge him. The ABA therapist will interact with a child to know his/her behavior, skills, and communication level. The therapist might also visit the child’s home or school to observe his/her behavior while performing daily activities.
Phase 2: Plan development
The BCBA will use the observations and assessment to develop a plan aligned with the individual’s unique needs. These goals could include increasing communication, improving social behaviors, and skills that promote independence in life. Additionally, if needed, a behavior plan will be developed to decrease problematic behavior. Once done, the therapist will schedule one-on-one sessions with the child. The number of weekly sessions varies depending on the child’s needs and goals.
Effectiveness of ABA Therapy for Autism
ABA is an evidence-based therapy, meaning it has passed scientific tests of its usefulness, quality, and effectiveness. ABA therapy techniques focus on antecedents (what happens before a behavior occurs) and consequences (what happens after the action).
There is a vast amount of scientific study and parental survey data that shows ABA is an effective teaching tool for individuals on the autism spectrum.
How Can a.c.e. Therapies Help?
At a.c.e. Therapies, our Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and therapists work with children to understand the root cause of their behaviors and teach skills in real-life settings (using a context-based approach) so their learnings are applicable and long-lasting. We focus on results that not only help individuals gain independence, but also help them find joy in their lives. Each of our programs is designed to meet the specific needs of the individual and the family, coordinating the child’s goals with the family’s values and utilizing the child’s unique learning style to create functionally meaningful therapy. Raising a child with autism impacts the whole family. Whether your child received a diagnosis or you’re looking for a social skills program, there is hope. We’re here to take little steps with your child that achieve big life gains.
If you would like to learn more about ABA the a.c.e. way, visit a.c.e Therapies or call 708-792-0162 to speak directly to the owner, Cindy Mrotek.