Hi BTL Fam!
Too often I get the question “what do you do?” and when I answer “ABA therapy” people look at me like I’m in another world! Although our field is quickly expanding and becoming more and more widely known, there are still individuals that aren’t quite sure what we do. ABA, short for Applied Behavior Analysis, is a scientific and evidence based method in the quest to understand human behavior and promote positive behavioral growth. As, BCBAs (Board Certified Behavior Analyst), BCaBAs (Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst), and RBTs (Registered Behavior Technician), we collectively work as a group to increase socially significant behaviors and decrease those behaviors that inhibit or interferes with an individual’s life.
Our individualized treatment teams work to:
- Define behavior that is measurable
- Determine a function/functions of behavior (why is the behavior occurring)
- Design and Implement interventions to increase or decrease behaviors
- Increase functional living skills, social skills, language and communication skills, attending skills, etc.
- Teach new skills such as life skills, communication skills, peer interaction, toilet training, etc.
- Maintain behaviors (self-monitoring, generalization, maintenance, etc.)
- Generalize behaviors or transfer them from one environment or response to another.
- To restrictor narrow conditions under which interfering behaviors occur (e.g., modifying the learning environment)
- Reduce interfering behaviors
Collectively, we work together in order to enhance these individuals’ lives. Our aim is to increase qualities of life and happiness, which every individual, diagnosis or not, is entitled! In doing so, we explore different focuses on behavior. A Reactive Focus will focus on responding to the behaviors after an undesirable behavior occurs. However, a Proactive Focus, will focus on the desirable or appropriate behavior by providing reinforcement before the undesirable behavior occurs.
ABA provides a unique opportunity to collaborate with the patient’s family, doctors, educational supports, and anyone that is a part of the individuals daily life. Coordination of care helps to determine goals, family support phases, and transitioning goals individualized to each person. This collaboration allows ABA practitioners to obtain data from both evidence-based assessments as well as the individuals that know our clients best . Teamwork across all care providers aids in the development of necessary behaviors so that each individual can connect with the environment around them.
Is ABA practiced by itself?
NOPE! There are a variety of ways to approach positive outcomes. Although, ABA is the #1 recommended form of treatment for individuals with autism, in coordination of care with occupational therapy, physical therapy, or speech therapy. ABA can be implemented with other helpful tools such as Verbal Behavior, Precision Teaching, and Natural Environment Teaching.
When do I start ABA?
As soon as a diagnosis is obtained. Early ASD evaluation and services is highly recommended. We are fortunate to serve individuals from ages 0-26!
Where does ABA take place?
Multiple Places. BTL focuses on implementing ABA in the home, in our clinic, and the community! Working in the patient’s home gives us the opportunity to teach new behaviors in an environment where the child is naturally living and these behaviors are occurring. The community setting gives us an environment to work on decreasing problem behaviors wherever they occur (examples: doctor visits, parks, stores, restaurants, etc). The community additionally provides us with a setting to work on the essential life skills that promote an increased quality of life. These life skills may include grocery shopping, ordering food, making decisions and fundamental social skills. Lastly, our clinic gives us the ability to contrive scenarios similar to the experiences that our patients would have in their home and community environments. These scenarios include social skills trainings, conversational skills, functional living skills, toleration skills and more!
By: Heidi Martin, B.S., Outreach Consultant