ABA for Autism

ABA for Autism

This blog is about ABA for Autism.

What is ABA for Autism?

Applied Behavior Analysis helps to modify behaviors with specific methods. It improves social skills, speech skills, and self-care in Autistics. Helps them in dealing with anger, better attention, and have better life skills.

Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) works on two major principles:

  1. Our behavior is directed by events in our life.
  2. Behavior that is followed by positive rewards will repeat.

ABA uses these principles to assist children with ASD to learn new and appropriate behavior. For example, if a child points to a toy they want, the child’s parents might follow this up with a positive reward like giving the child the toy. This makes it more likely that the child will repeat the action in the future.

To know the concept of ABA, let’s first learn A-B-C’s of behavior:

Antecedents: this is what occurs right before the target behavior. It can command or request, a toy or object, or a light, sound, or something else in the environment. An antecedent comes from the environment, from another person, or a thought or feeling.

Behavior: this is the child’s response or lack of response to the antecedent. Additionally, it can be an action, a verbal response, or something else.

Consequence: this is what happens right after the behavior. It can include positive rewards. Further, this is for good behavior or no reaction for incorrect responses.

Looking at A-B-Cs helps us understand:

Why a behavior may be taking place?

How different events could affect the behavior is likely to happen again?

EXAMPLE:

Antecedent: Firstly, the parent says “It’s time to turn off the screen”.

Behavior: Secondly, the child yells “no!”

Consequence: Thirdly, the parent takes away the gadget. Then says “Okay, no more screen time for you.”

How could ABA facilitate a child to learn correct behavior in this situation?

Antecedent: The parent says “It’s time to turn off the screen”.

Behavior: The child remembers to ask, “Can I have 5 more minutes?”

Consequence: The parent says, “Of course you can have 5 more minutes!”

ABA works by

  • Seeing a child’s current skills and challenges
  • Setting goals and objectives – for example, teach to say thank you
  • Make and use a technique that teaches the needed skill
  • Measuring the ‘target’ skill.
  • Testing the technique and making changes.
  • The child gets opportunities to practice new skills. They learn new skills, more skills are included in their routine. Over time, they lead to the desired behavior. In other words, like having conversations, playing cooperatively with others, or learning by watching others. This brings a good chance in the behavior.

Techniques in ABA

Token Economy

A token economy gives a positive reward to a child. Further, it helps in problematic behavior. Furthermore, it is to teach what behaviors are good and which are bad. Token economies strengthen behavior and increase its occurrence.

Task Analysis

This is for current behaviors and actions. The child is given a task to observe how they perform it. In other words, this analysis is broken down into the below:

  • Physical actions
  • Cognitive actions
  • Repetition
  • Allocation
  • Environment

Furthermore, tasks are broken down into steps. Which can be easily understood by the child.

Using prompts and cues

Prompts and cues are used to encourage a behavior. They are gentle reminders and it is indirect sometimes or a gesture or a look of your eyes. The child will notice this cue and be reminded to behave in a way. Examples are washing hands before meals, making their bed, or putting away toys. The idea is to fade out the prompts when the child no longer needs them. The prompts are helpful.

ABA doesn’t necessarily aim at making autistic people behave in a more socially acceptable way. But, it can be used to help Autistics learn and understand interaction with their environment. Understanding how and when to use it is the key. Remember every child benefits from different therapies and different modules. Choose what works best for them.

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Sayee Deshpande
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