ABA is a therapy based on the science of learning and behavior. ABA focuses on the principles of behavior which provide us with a greater understanding of why we do what we do. Living with the challenging behaviors exhibited by a child with ASD can be very hard on a family. ABA can help reduce or eliminate undesirable behaviors (i.e. self-injury, screaming, biting, extreme fears, rigidity, limited food repertoires). This can dramatically improve the quality of life for the family by lowering stress levels in the home environment. At CARE we believe a strong, healthy family is the best
gift we can give a person with ASD. Behavior analysts began working with young children with ASD and related disorders in the 1960s. Since then, techniques have been developed for building useful skills in learners with ASD, from toddlers through adulthood, using principles of ABA. These procedures can be applied with the individual with ASD during everyday situations, (i.e.grocery shopping, dinnertime, bedtime, or at the local playground). ABA therapy can occur in one-on-one sessions with the therapist and the individual with ASD or in larger group settings.
ABA is effective in a variety of settings (i.e. schools, workplaces, homes, and clinics). ABA involves many techniques and procedures for understanding and changing behavior. ABA is a flexible treatment and when applied appropriately can increase the individual’s overall quality of life and level of independence. ABA has been endorsed by a number of state and federal agencies, including the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and U.S. Surgeon General. ABA is widely recognized as the most evidenced-based intervention for persons with ASD.
Behavior analysts use strategies and procedures that have been used and studied for decades. They have helped all kinds of learners gain different skills – from healthier lifestyles to learning a new language or a sport. Therapists have used ABA to help children with ASD and related disorders since the 1960s.
A Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) or Board Certified assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) provides ABA therapy services. To become a BCBA, the following is required:
ABA therapy programs are often implemented by Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs). They are trained and supervised by the BCBA or BCaBA. RBTs work directly with toddlers, preschoolers, children, adolescents and adults with ASD and teach skills identified as goals in the individual’s treatment plan that was developed by the BCBA or BCaBA following an assessment. The implementation of the treatment plan by the RBTs along with progress towards the goals is supervised by the BCBA/BCaBA who analyzes the data that has been collected. Once a goal is mastered, additional goals are added to the individual’s treatment plan in order to maximize progress across a variety of domains.
RBTs may also be referred to as: Behavior Therapists, Frontline Providers, Behavior Technicians.
ABA is considered an evidence-based best practice treatment by the US Surgeon General and by the American Psychological Association (APA).
“Evidence-based” means that ABA has passed scientific tests of its usefulness, quality, and effectiveness. ABA therapy includes many different techniques. All of these techniques focus on Antecedents (what happens before a behavior occurs), Behavior (the observable behavior the therapist wants to increase or decrease in the individual) and on Consequences (what occurs right after the individual displays a behavior). This is sometimes referred to the ABC’s of Behavior.
More than 20 studies have established that intensive and long-term therapy using ABA principles improves outcomes for many but not all children with ASD. “Intensive” and “long-term” refer to programs that provide 25 to 40 hours a week of therapy for 1 to 3 years. These studies show gains in intellectual functioning, language development, daily living skills and social functioning. Studies with adults using ABA principles, though fewer in number, show similar benefits.