ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) is one of the most widely used forms of therapy for persons with ASD. 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. Based on the need of each person who is unique in their own way, 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.
Here are some valid reasons for the “The why behind the ABA therapy”:
· It works. Scientific evidence over the years points to the understanding that ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) is more effective as compared to other forms of therapy. There are many studies/cases documented in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and other journals are evidence of the good work achieved via ABA. ABA teaches various skills, independence, vocalization & speaking up, life skills such as getting dressed or using the bathroom, and the skills required as productive adults who are contributing members of society including being employed.
· It enables parents and family members to be the “best parents/family members” the child deserves. Family members of children with ASD are provided with effective strategies to cope up with situations that arise. Since each child on the spectrum is unique, the solutions & strategies that are found in consultation with the BCBA are personalized and always “work in progress”. Plus, parental training imparted (or for the family members) equip parents, etc. with the skills required to manage their child and strengthen the efficacy of ABA with carrying forward the therapy, on a daily basis.
· It teaches the necessary social skills required for life. For children with decent language skills, ABA is useful to impart and enhance the social skills needed to thrive in their school, community, and the world at large.
· ABA encourages self–advocacy. ABA provides a person with ASD the competency and skills required for being an advocate for one’s self and for the ASD community in general. So, for those on the spectrum, the lack of verbal skills does not impede their self–advocacy and ambassadors for ASD, thanks to ABA and therapists.
· It enables families to have higher expectations from their child. ABA demonstrates to the family members that their child has immense potential and is able to overcome various challenges & maladaptive behaviors. This sets the bar higher with greater expectations within the family members and the child itself. Thus, families are inspired, hopeful as well as motivated to capitalize on the benefits accrued.