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Applied Behavior Analysis is a set of techniques designed to help adjust behavior, particularly in children with Autism. But is it just another form of quackery? No, it's not. Research has shown it does actually work!

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a scientifically proven method to understanding how the environment, on both a physical and a social level, affects behavior.

Originally it was called behavior modification, and the focus is on understanding how learning occurs.

Decades of research have helped to develop specific techniques for not only rewarding good behaviors, but for significantly reducing those behaviors that could interfere with learning or potentially cause harm to others.

ABA And Autism

Since the 1960s researchers and behavior analysts have been working with both children and adults with autism, including other development disorders associated with autism. The analysis was useful for not only working on behaviors, but also for gaining better understanding how the mind of an Autistic child works., particularly around the area of learning. Since then, the techniques have been further developed to assist those on the spectrum from toddler through to adult.

These techniques can be employed in a more formal setting such as in a school classroom, and also within the home during normal routines. This therapy can be conducted as a one on one session, or in a group session, which also proves useful. ABA is considered one of the safest and most effective treatment options for autism, and has been endorsed by a number of agencies throughout the United States.

What Are Some Of The Techniques And How Do They Help?

Many of these techniques teach basic skills such as reading, holding conversations, understanding another person’s perspective, which is a skill a lot of autistic children are lacking, and skills such as listening, looking and imitating. To work out what is the best plan of action, each child or adult is treated as an individual case, and the techniques are tailored on a case-by-case level. The therapist will analyze what is needed for each person, and this could be based on their existing skills, needs, interests, family situation and their preferences.

There will still be some commonalities in practice, and the family or support carers will also be instructed how to implement each technique so that it can be continued in the home.

Each therapist develops a treatment and instruction plan to set small goals for developing each skill. The progress will be constantly monitored and assessed so that goals can be adjusted as needed.

Each goal and instruction is designed to target a broad range of areas, such as sociability, communication, play, self-care, academic skills and motor development. These goals are aimed at empowering the child or adult to become more independent not only in the short term, but as a long-term skill. One of the most important factors is providing ongoing positive reinforcement for appropriate behaviors and demonstration of learned skills. For some children, this is done by a reward system, which has proven to work very well with many.

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