Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is an interpersonal therapy that helps children on the autism spectrum learn to replace disruptive behaviors with desirable ones. The earlier you start ABA, the greater its results. Children can begin ABA therapy as young as age 2. Those who start early like this enjoy optimal preparation for preschool. Here are some of the many benefits of ABA for children with autism.
Improved Social Skills
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Children with autism have varying strengths and weaknesses when it comes to their communication skills. They may have trouble processing auditory information, struggling to make sense of words and phrases. Children with autism may also have trouble interpreting body language, which can make a mystery of the world. ABA therapy can incorporate several augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) interventions, including:
- Speech-generating devices (SGDs).
- Communication boards.
- Sign language.
- Picture exchange communication system (PECS).
These strategies can equip children to properly ask for items that they need, describe their environment, and even read sight words. Through ABA, those with autism can learn to effectively follow instructions, communicate with peers, and make connections with others.
Greater Independent Living Skills
Children with autism may struggle with common daily skills like using the restroom and sleeping through the night. ABA equips parents and caregivers to help support and improve these behaviors by routinely charting critical data. This information makes it possible to identify sleep patterns and toileting habits so that caregivers can pinpoint routine actions and gradually adjust them. The slow process of encouraging desirable behaviors and discouraging undesirable behaviors will gradually equip patients for more successful independent living.
Task analysis can also help with independent living skills like brushing teeth and getting dressed. ABA can provide the tools and framework to assess the child’s capabilities and identify the best approach to teaching. This might come in the form of visual supports, timers, alarms, and practical hands-on education.
Better Focus and Attention
ABA helps children identify behaviors that are important, using these as a replacement for disruptive behaviors. Using this methodology, caregivers can slowly replace inattention and disruption with more focused participation. ABA is so effective because it accounts for the myriad variables present when assessing a child with autism. Every individual is unique and requires a personalized approach.
ABA gradually identifies the antecedent that occurs before a targeted behavior, the specifics of the behavior itself, and the consequences of that behavior. If the behavior is desirable, it’s followed by positive reinforcement, like a special privilege. If the behavior is undesirable, the consequence is a complete lack of acknowledgment or response. Over time, this can help hone the child’s focus on things that are important and desirable.
Increased Life Satisfaction
Autism may create certain barriers to life satisfaction, but these can be overcome with proper therapy and a mindful approach. ABA can teach children how to handle strong emotions like frustration and work through them. By equipping children to overcome obstacles, ABA gives individuals the skills and tools that they need to navigate life’s many unpredictable situations. While these occurrences may still present a greater challenge for an autistic individual, the therapy will teach them that such obstacles are not insurmountable.
Increasing independence and enabling autistic children to learn more effectively gives them a sense of accomplishment. This typically equates to greater life satisfaction as these individuals learn to care for themselves, navigate new situations, learn more effectively, and maintain meaningful relationships.
Enhanced Education for Parents and Caregivers
ABA isn’t just for patients with autism. It’s also for the parents and caregivers of these children. Raising a child with autism can be overwhelming for a parent who isn’t familiar with the condition. ABA autism training gives caregivers the tools they need to effectively teach life skills, form relationships, and communicate effectively. This type of therapy can also help parents adjust their expectations and embrace both the strengths and weaknesses of their child.
Every moment is a learning experience for a child with autism. Well-educated parents know how to capitalize on this so that they’re always helping their children move forward. When parents learn how to properly identify their child’s interests and preferences, they’re equipped with a powerful motivator. Using these interests and passions, caregivers can better encourage appropriate behaviors in their children while simultaneously bonding over the things that their child enjoys most.
If your child has an autism diagnosis, begin exploring ADA therapy providers as early as possible. This research-backed therapy can dramatically change the way you work with your child and improve outcomes in numerous areas.