ABA therapy stands for Applied Behavior Analysis. It was created by Dr. Ivar Lovaas in 1980 and is derived from the branch of psychology known as Behaviorism. It is a scientifically proven and evidence-based therapy that focuses on improving specific behaviors such as communication, social skills, life skills, reading and so on. As the usage of these skills increases with time, there is a decrease in maladaptive or undesirable behaviors. For persons diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, it is very effective form of therapy. ABA uses the principles of reinforcement to teach new skills and increase the frequency of some functional skills that are already part of an individual’s repertoire. Based on the need of the individual, ABA therapy is performed either in one-on-one therapy or group therapy. It has been seen that ABA therapy which results in an improvement in skills and behaviors, leads to a decline in the need for special services.
Continuous and involved ABA therapy brings improvements in the lives of the clients and their families. It has proven to help clients with ASD in the following ways:
Communication – ABA therapy helps clients to establish a functional method of communication that allows for interaction with family members and peers.
Play – Learning how to functionally play with toys of all kinds as well as learning to interactive play with siblings and peers.
Social skills – Learning how to greet others, initiate conversations (i.e. "Do you want to play with me?", turn-taking, and so many more peer interactive abilities.
Receptive language skills – Learning how to follow instructions as well as comprehend what is being said and applying it (i.e. "put on your shoes").
Daily living skills – Learning how to engage in self-care such as independently using the bathroom, brushing teeth, eating without assistance or cleaning up after playing with toys.
Community skills – Learning how to adapt in different community settings such as the grocery store or restaurant, by being able to maintain an inside voice, placing an order at a restaurant, interacting with strangers, and more.
ABA works on the proven theories of learning and behaviors. ABA Therapists work on the principle that learned behaviors can be changed over time. As each person with ASD is unique and gifted, the therapy team assesses the client’s behavior & environment and draws up a comprehensive & intensive plan to enable them to lead fulfilling, independent & enriched lives. The program can be taught in both centers as well as home settings where the client is more at ease and comfortable. The program is encompassing hence includes detailed training to family members, teachers, and caregivers. The program’s success lies in its intensive monitoring, evaluation, and adjustments.
The therapists curate an individual-based program which aims to reduce maladaptive or undesirable behaviors at the same time develop social, functional and life skills. Each day is planned to provide ample opportunities to gain and practice skills in both structured and unstructured situations. The therapist uses various behavior analytic procedures; both either led by him/her or started by the client.
The principle of Positive reinforcement is one of the main pillars of ABA. The use of this reward system where a child learns he/she will earn a privilege or product which is dear to them for a task performed leads to a higher rate of adoption over time.
Understanding what happens before a behavior occurs and consequences of behavior is another important pillar of any ABA program.
The goal of ABA program is to enhance social, language, daily living, and functional skills as well as increase positive behavior over time. ABA program makes the lives of the client independent and successful, leading to a qualitative difference in the lives of the family and the community at large.
ABA therapy is covered by the insurance companies such as private and Medicaid insurance.
Self-funded health benefit plans are regulated by federal law such as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). They are not subject to state autism insurance laws. Thus self-funded plans may not cover autism care.
Autism care can also be funded privately. Please call Caliber Autism to get a complete understanding of care and fees.