ABA stands for Applied behavioral Analysis and is one of the most widely used and effective therapy for children with autism disorder. The main goal of ABA therapy is to reduce undesirable behaviors and increase targeted behaviors or skills in the children suffering from autism. ABA teaches social, motor and verbal behaviors, as well as reasoning skills and works to manage challenging behavior through observation and a system of rewards. The child is given an extensive one-on-one therapy for 20 to 40 hours each week.
ABA was first applied by a behavioral psychologist named Dr. Ivar Lovaas in 1987. According to him, behavioral skills could be taught through the ABA method. The goal was to modify or eliminate the behavioral symptoms associated with autism. If autistic behaviors are no longer evident then the assumption is that the autism itself has been effectively treated.
How ABA Works
The most basic form of ABA therapy starts with discrete trials therapy. In this the child is asked for a particular task like: pick up the spoon. If the child obeys then he/she is rewarded in the form of a food treat, a high five or any other reward that means something to the child. And if the child does not obey, then he/she does not receive the award & the trial is repeated.
The discrete trials therapy is based on an evaluation of the individual child, his/her needs and abilities.
Children under the age of three receive a modified form of ABA which is much closer to play therapy.
Benefits of ABA therapy
ABA therapy eliminates undesirable behaviors and teach desired behaviors and skills. This therapy may be used to reduce outbursts and tantrums or to teach a child to sit quietly.
Nowadays, ABA therapy is administered in natural settings such as playgrounds, cafeterias and community locations. This makes it easier for children to immediately use the skills they learn in a real-world situation.
ABA is everywhere and it helps children with autism to use desired behaviors or skills and control some of their undesired behaviors. These behavioral skills can make a big difference in how well the child can perform the daily activities & social experiences.