What is Applied Behaviour Analysis?

Supporting children as they learn and grow by providing them with the right skills to thrive is incredibly important. For children with Autism and other developmental disabilities, their social, language and behaviour skills develop at a slower pace than neurotypical children. Sometimes certain skills will not develop without specialised and individualised intervention. It is, therefore, essential they are given extra support and training to encourage socially significant behaviour that will foster social connection with others, inclusion in the community, independence and improve the overall quality of life for them and their families. Early Childhood Intervention is the most beneficial because it increases children’s inclusion in the community from the very beginning and assists them by building their socially significant skills and working towards their developmental milestones before the gap widens. 

In Freedom Social Skills Behavioural Intervention programs, we utilise the evidence-based methods of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) to achieve effective behaviour management and skill development. 

What is Applied Behaviour Analysis?

ABA is a scientific approach to understanding human behaviour. Using evidenced-based principles and techniques we can teach new skills such as social, and language communication, personal independence, and gross and fine motor skills. The primary goal is to support children with special needs to learn meaningful skills that can help improve their quality of life or their ability to function effectively within their community.

ABA helps us understand why people engage in certain behaviours, how behaviour is affected by the environment and how learning takes place. The primary goal of ABA therapy is to increase socially significant behaviours that are helpful to the child and decrease behaviours that are harmful to them, or negatively affecting their learning. ABA focuses on teaching skills in a variety of environments to ensure that the child can use their new skills to help them wherever they go.

At Freedom Social Skills, we utilise the evidence-based practices of ABA to deliver effective and individualised intervention to children and teenagers with Autism and other developmental disabilities. The goal of our program is for each child to acquire the critical skills needed for successful social interactions and achieve personal independence in their daily lives.

How does ABA work?

ABA is a flexible and scientific approach that involves a range of techniques for understanding and changing behaviour. These can be adapted to meet the unique needs of each child, provided in different locations, such as at home, school or in the community, teach everyday life skills and may be taught one-on-one or in a group setting.

One primary strategy used in ABA is positive reinforcement. This involves encouraging the repetition of a helpful behaviour by following it with a positive consequence and reward to encourage repetition of the helpful behaviour. We also use techniques such as breaking down a complex skill such as having a conversation, into many smaller skills (i.e., saying hi, asking and answering questions) and teach these smaller skills one by one so that the child is always feeling confident and successful. Finally, ABA utilises a lot of environmental modifications such as prompting which is when the therapist helps the child to perform a behaviour until they can do it independently. We also might incorporate visual supports and enrich the environment full of things the child loves to do to promote success each and every time. Over time, this encourages a positive change in social significant behaviour, leading to a decrease in challenging behaviour. ABA therapists will use these techniques to encourage children to develop new social skills, such as playing with others, and learning how to take turns or share.

What are the benefits of ABA for autism?

The Applied Behaviour Analysis approach and its techniques can help autistic children improve their social skills, self-care skills, communication skills, play skills and ability to manage their own behaviour in a positive manner. It can also help to reduce maladaptive behaviour like inattention or aggression as it assists in the regulation of emotions.

ABA can help autistic children develop independence, but it should not be used to make children ‘mask’ their autism or ‘fit in’ with social norms. We choose behaviours that are socially significant to the child. We ask ourselves what would make the child or family happier, safer, and more fulfilled in there day to day life (i.e., learning to use the toilet, or learning to ask someone to play a game that they like). The goal is never to change the child’s unique personality and help them blend in according to an outsider’s standard.

Applying the methods of ABA can help improve:

  • Independence
  • Daily living skills
  • Play and social skills
  • Academic and cognitive skills
  • Communication and language skills
  • Reduction in challenging behaviour

What is the role of the ABA therapist?

An ABA therapist will evaluate a child’s behaviour, and work with you to achieve set goals, adjusting goals as needed based on your values and data that is collected overtime and taking into consideration each child’s uniqueness and ability.

Our therapists at Freedom Social Skills strive to create an atmosphere that is fun and engaging while focusing on developing effective social behaviours and communication. We use a variety of activities, such as games, play activities, and role-plays, to teach children how to interact with others in both structured and unstructured settings.

If your child experiences a developmental disability and struggles with social skills, communication, academic and daily living skills, or the ability to manage behaviour, ABA therapy might be the right therapy.

ABA programs are flexible and can be catered for each individual child’s unique skills and learning objectives.

Does this sound like something that could benefit your child?

Contact us today for a discussion.

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