What is ABA Therapy?
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) involves the use of evidence-based practices to address a variety of behavioral needs in an effort to promote productivity and increase independence.
What makes ABA therapy different from other treatment approaches is the support of empirical research findings. The strategies that we employ stem directly from the science of Behavior Analysis, which is based on years of research that demonstrates their utility and effectiveness in addressing the needs of those we serve.
ABA therapy promotes development while focusing on the principles that describe how learning takes place. Positive Reinforcement plays an integral part in the treatment process. When a desired behavior is followed by a reinforcer (i.e. reward), the learner is more likely to repeat the behavior in the future. Reinforcement supports the positive behaviors and aims to eliminate the negative behaviors through protocol specific to the learner. Our certified Behavior Analysts focus on observable, measurable behavior while building a method of treatment that would be most effective for the individual learner.
The science-based focus of ABA therapy makes its chances for outcomes clear. If a Behavior Analyst does it right, there will be results. The degree to which those results come depends on the learner, but ABA therapy is built to produce desired outcomes. We focus on identifying the specific mechanism that changes behavior and aim to show growth through it.
Though results will come through ABA therapy, it doesn’t always happen rapidly. Every learner is different in how they process information and improve. The development typically comes through step-by-step growth, but the speed of the desired result depends on level of functioning, age and other factors of the individual child.
Verbal Behavior Programming is an important component of our services. It addresses the language and communication skills of the learner, but vocal isn’t always the primary method. The learner is encouraged to communicate through whatever means possible, which could be vocal or through a different method such as sign language, picture-card exchange or a speech-generating device. Vocal is always the preference and is continually being worked on, but the goal is for the learner to be expressive in whatever way he or she is capable of, as long as it is functional and promotes independence.
ABA therapy has been supported by the United States Surgeon General and its usage continues to increase nationally. In 2008, the Florida Senate passed a bill recognizing the need to increase coverage for the treatment of autism spectrum disorder, allowing more families to receive treatment through ABA therapy. Today, 43 states – plus the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands – have enacted autism insurance reform laws.