“Children with autism are colorful – they are often very beautiful and like the rainbow stand out” – Quote by Adele Devine, special needs teacher in the United Kingdom.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an evidence-based best practice treatment by the US Surgeon General and by the American Psychological Association. ABA is a therapeutic approach that focuses on modifying socially significant behaviors. Through the systematic use of the principles of behavior, functional and adaptive skills are increased, while maladaptive or undesirable behaviors are decreased. Research has shown that ABA therapy is an effective treatment for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as other co-morbid developmental disorders. As each human being is unique in his/her own way, therefore the ABA therapy is modified by the concerned team to meet the needs of each child, leading to constructive changes over a period of time.
Positive reinforcement is the main pillar of ABA. It is used to teach new skills as well as increase the frequency of some functional skills which the child is already familiar with. Another pillar of ABA therapy is understanding what happens before a behavior occurs and the impact of the behavior. ABA therapy can be imparted in centers or at homes where the child is most at ease and show the biggest gains.
ABA therapy helps individuals afflicted with autism in the following ways:
Communication – ABA therapy enables the children to request for needs and wants. This is a significant improvement as earlier even basic communication was a problem. This makes the life of the family, caregivers and the social network at large much easier.
Play – One of the ways ABA helps these unique kids is to play functionally with toys as well as explore new toys etc, which they were not doing earlier. ABA opens up a whole new world for these children and their families.
Social skills – ABA has been proved to assist children to engage in interactive play, share toys, etc. Most autism children prefer being alone and live in a world of their own, with very remote social skills and engagement. Getting them to do these small tasks is a big help to the families and them. They are more open to letting others in their lives.
Responding – One of the great outcomes of ABA therapy is that the children are able to follow instructions, leading to greater interaction and ease of life in situations.
Self care skills – One of the biggest worries for parents is teaching their children the activities of daily living. The tasks which we take for granted for example using a bathroom, brushing our teeth and having bath pose mammoth challenges in such families. With ABA, one can be assured that the kids have some semblance of normalcy in their day to day activities. Isn't this great outcome of ABA!
As you can see, the fruits of ABA are many. If you know a child in your network who displays symptoms of any form of Autism Spectrum Disorder, help them to change their lives by going for the Applied Behavior Analysis program, a remarkable life changing the program.