If you are a school administrator or the parent of a child with autism, you have likely heard of ABA therapy. This is broadly proven to be the most effective means of teaching behavior and learning skills to children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, yet few people truly understand the concept. In the next few paragraphs, we will take a look at Applied Behavior Analysis, explaining the overall concept as well as how it works to help teach autistic children to learn and interact in a manner similar to their peers.
Before delving into exactly how ABA works, it is important to take a look at the overall concept. ABA therapy is designed to break down the behavior of a child or student and to literally analyze it. Large concepts are broken down into steps and children are taught to perform each step individually. Initially, prompts are given to provoke the right response or behavior, but over time the behavior is performed with decreasing prompts until it becomes automatic. This is an excellent tool for teaching both large and small concepts and can prove very beneficial in helping students integrate into a classroom setting.
To take a closer look, it is best to use an example. We will use tooth brushing as an example. While many children can be shown to remove the cap from the tube, squeeze the paste onto a brush, run water onto it, and brush their teeth, the mind of an autistic child works differently. Because of this, each of these steps would be a separate lesson, with each behavior being taught individually until the child is able to put them together into a chain of action. The process is similar for teaching most concepts, but It is also very effective.
As a school administrator or school board member, integrating ABA therapy into your training methods is highly valuable. Studies show that most autistic children are capable of learning along their peers in a classroom setting with proper skills and behavior training. While large conferences and training clinics can be costly, there are training courses that utilize DVDs and other affordable materials to offer system wide training. This gives school systems an affordable means of providing their teachers with the educational skills and methods required for teaching children with autism spectrum disorder and can help these educators provide students with a significantly higher quality of education.