When you are the parent or teacher of a child diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, teaching them certain behaviors and tasks can become overwhelming. Even although most individuals understand that autistic children learn differently, without training it can be difficult to know how to change negative behaviors or to teach certain skill sets. ABA, or Applied Behavior Analysis therapy can be a very important and effective tool. By breaking concepts and behaviors into smaller and more understandable steps, the therapy opens the doorway to learning so that these students are given a fair opportunity.
With ABA therapy, children are given the ability to take concepts and behaviors in smaller, easier bites. Behaviors are broken down into their most basic steps, and each step is repeated until it has been learned and can be mimicked without prompting. Over time, the steps are put together so that the child is able to perform a routine task without stress or confusion. It is important for educators to understand that autistic children are highly capable, but that they simply learn differently than most students. ABA therapy essentially helps them learn how to learn.
Another means in which ABA therapy is quite effective is in teaching students to break negative patterns of behavior. With autistic children, the attention gained from scolding or reprimanding is not seen as a negative response, but as a reward of attention, so breaking negative policies takes a different strategy. With ABA training, negative behavior is ignored indefinitely, while a positive response to the same trigger is rewarded with attention, a sticker, or some other small but enjoyable response. This helps to condition the child into behaving and reacting appropriately to various situations and stimuli.
If you are a parent, educator, or school administrator, encouraging your school district to integrate Applied Behavior Analysis therapy is an excellent idea. The approach can prove to be beneficial for all students, and it can really work wonders for autistic children. These kids deserve the chance to learn while among their peers if possible, and the skills and behaviors offered by ABA help to increase these chances. ABA therapy can also give students the skills that they need to function well into adulthood. With affordable DVD courses available, it is possible for any school system to provide educators with high quality ABA training that can give every student the chance to learn at the best of their ability.