What is Applied Behavior Analysis?

three little girls and female teacher in kindergarten

Applied behavior analysis is a scientific approach to understanding how an individual’s actions and skills are affected by their physical and social surroundings. Today, ABA is widely regarded by behavioral experts to be a safe and effective treatment for autism and is scientifically proven to be the most beneficial type of intervention to produce meaningful outcomes. If your child has been diagnosed with autism, read on to learn how intensive behavioral interventions can be a fundamental part of your plan for a happy and productive future for your child, and as a result, for your entire family.

Learning Principles

If your child has behavioral or learning issues, you and your family are far from alone. Millions of American parents struggle to address their child’s unique needs every day. If your child has been diagnosed with autism, navigating social and academic spheres can be even more complex. Applied behavior analysis has been proven to foster basic skills, such as making eye contact, expressing needs and wants, potty training and more complicated tasks such as reading, making friends and even working successfully at a job. While some ABA sessions involve intensive one-on-one instruction with a therapist, group sessions which include peers are also a valuable way for children to learn important social skills and to learn in a format that is similar to school

Building Skills

Behavior analysis focuses on applying proven principles that reinforce learning and CHANGE BEHAVIOR. For example, when a good behavior is followed by a reinforcer, a child is likely to engage in that behavior in the future to get the same result. For instance, if a child learns to say, “juice” and that is followed by receiving juice, the child is more likely to use words to request this desired item in the future because it results in getting what they want. During therapy sessions, behavior specialists use ABA to encourage positive behaviors and to extinguish harmful behaviors. For instance, if a child typically tantrums to get “juice”, they would learn that they do not get the juice when they tantrum, but when they point to the juice, say “juice” or otherwise appropriately request the juice, that is when the juice is delivered. Over time, tantrums will stop because they are not effective in getting the desired result and language use will increase because it pays off! Most importantly, the skills gained in therapy can be reinforced at home during dinner time, play time, and family time, so that your child can learn to interact positively with siblings and other family members.

Lasting Lessons

ABA is a time-proven method. Children with learning and behavior challenges have continually shown significant improvements in important skills such as learning, reasoning, communication, and adaptability when they participate in intensive, high quality ABA programs.

The Behavior Exchange of Dallas is dedicated to using the science of applied behavior analysis in a fun, engaging and supportive atmosphere to help children with various behavior and learning differences reach their full potential. If your child has been diagnosed with autism or another learning challenge, call (972) 312-8733 to find out how our dedicated and highly skilled staff can help your child develop a lifelong love of learning.

Written By Tammy Cline-Soza, MS, BCBA

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