ABA, or Applied Behavior Analysis, has been shown to be an effective method for those with autism to learn and maintain valuable life skills. Because children with autism require an optimized environment in order to acquire the skills that other children may develop naturally, ABA therapy can play a significant role in creating a better setting for children with an autism spectrum disorder to learn and grow. Applied behavior analysis therapy can be used to increase or maintain behaviors, teach and reinforce new skills, make connections between behaviors and situations, or restrict conditions or interfering behaviors. While ABA has been proven to make an overwhelmingly positive impact on many children who have autism spectrum disorders, there are a few things you should know about ABA therapy prior to diving in:
- It should be customized
ABA is not \”one size fits all.\” It should be tailored specifically for your child\’s behavioral needs. Before deciding on an ABA program at an autism center, ask about how you will be kept informed about your child\’s progress. You should be provided with a monthly report (both in person and via printed report) to discuss your child\’s progress. In addition, you should choose a center with consistent ABA therapists. Your child stands to benefit from treatment in a steady environment from professionals who are well-informed and reliable.
- It\’s accessible
You have access to ABA therapy, regardless of income. Autism Speaks waged a battle with insurance companies in order to cover autism costs — and specifically, ABA therapy. Now, with the Affordable Care Act, most families can access insurance that covers ABA without a yearly cap. This means that you won\’t be burdened with the substantial costs many families had to take on in years past. Typically, families (especially low-income families) should now be able to obtain the coverage necessary for ABA therapy treatment.
- It\’s positive and intensive
ABA is a method of positive reinforcement, not punishment. This has shown to be wildly successful across the board in promoting learned behaviors. But part of the reason why ABA therapy is so successful in helping those with autism spectrum disorders is the fact that it\’s intensive. ABA is not a therapy that\’s done in a few hours every week. Instead, most patients undergo ABA therapy anywhere from 20-40 hours per week. One of the main reasons why it\’s more successful than other intensive programs is because it makes the treatment a significant priority in your child\’s life. Often, ABA is set up in a model that resembles school. That\’s why when kids start ABA therapy at an early age, they\’re in a better position to enter a regular classroom earlier on and with less assistance.
Although ABA therapy may not work for every child who has an autism spectrum disorder, it has been proven to make a positive impact for the majority of patients. If you\’re interested in finding out more about applied behavior analysis, talk to your doctor about seeking out an ABA provider in your area.