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What is Applied Behavior Analysis?

Applied Behavior Analysis can be used on anyone in any setting in an effort to treat or improve undesired behaviors. These behaviors can range from social skills to psychological disorders.

While the severity of problem behaviors can widely vary depending on the client and their mental health, ABA therapy always has the same goal. The goal of Applied Behavior Analysis is for a professional to provide people of all ages with a functional behavioral assessment. This will let allow clients to partake in ABA therapy in order to help them understand their problematic behavior as well as encourage positive behaviors using various ABA techniques. This type of therapy is rising in popularity for those who struggle with behavioral disorders, most commonly among the autistic community – people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, as well as their parents, guardians, and teachers.

What is ABA?

Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, focuses on people’s learning processes, behaviors, communication skills, and social skills. ABA professionals have studied how learning can be affected by a person’s behavior. They’ve taken it a step further and studied the correlations between a person’s behavior and how their environment can affect it. This behavior analysis and knowledge is then used to provide therapy that aims to increase and reinforce positive behaviors and decrease any problem behaviors that may inhibit learning or cause harm to themselves or others.

Who Is Applied Behavior Analysis Beneficial To?

Applied Behavior Analysis can be used to help people with a wide array of behavioral and psychological disorders and as well as other mental health concerns. It can target behavior and help patients who are living with…

-Problem behaviors
-Poor social skills
-Poor communication skills
-Autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
-Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
-Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
-Panic disorder
-Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
-Developmentally disabled children
-Developmental disorders in adults

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Benefits of ABA Therapy

Participating in an applied behavior analysis therapy program can help to address and decrease behavioral problems. It also allows people to act on their appropriate desired behaviors because of their newfound confidence and understanding of themselves with their behavior modification. It can also be used to help a person with their memory, communication skills, social skills, daily living skills, focus, and many other areas. According to Autism Speaks, behavior analysis has been used by therapists since the 1960s to help children with autism and other developmental disorders. Many parents trust ABA to help their autistic children to flourish by learning how to handle different situations that may arise in the real world.

ABA Strategies

ABA therapists often use positive reinforcement to help alter behavioral patterns. Positive reinforcement requires the therapist to set a clear goal or expected behavior for the person to meet. Whenever the person behaves ideally, they receive some kind of award. This type of encouragement can motivate the person to behave in the desired way until this behavior becomes a natural response over time. Applied behavior also allows the option to teach giving parents and teachers the proper tools to help maintain these behavioral patterns between sessions.

Each person that goes through an ABA therapy program receives sessions that are tailored to their needs and interests. These program sessions are created a by board-certified behavior analysts that can take family goals and preferences into consideration when designing the program. Each session is monitored and assessed to effectively track the person’s progress so that the future sessions can be altered if necessary. Monitoring extends to the home and school so that different situations and environments can also be factored into the sessions. There are many well respected practices and techniques that continue to make applied behavior analysis one of the most beneficial forms of behavior therapy.

Finding ABA Services

There are several factors to consider before committing to an ABA therapy program. Anyone seeking ABA services should make sure that their board-certified behavior analyst has been licensed through the state. It’s also important to know how many different therapists would be working with the person seeking therapy. Parents that are putting their child into an ABA program may want to ask which goals are being set and if their requests will be considered when designing the sessions.

The ability to control certain behaviors, understand why a behavior occurs, increase positive behavior, and learn effective behavioral strategies can have a huge impact on day-to-day living. Thanks to decades of Applied Behavior Analysis therapy, many people have gone through successful programs that have made life a bit easier.

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