Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), the most researched treatment for autism, has been around for nearly 50 years. Over the last decade, there has been a particularly dramatic increase in the use of ABA to help people with autism live happy and productive lives. ABA is proven to be one of the best approaches to the treatment of autism as researchers have shown again and again that ABA helps develop skills for playing, socializing, communicating, and attending while reducing behaviors that interfere with learning and interacting with family and friends.
Together with our client’s parents, we choose behaviors to target for change, whether we want to increase the occurrence of a behavior (like asking for things) or we want to decrease them (like aggression.) We break skills down into their component parts, and through practice and reinforcement, we encourage learning. We carefully monitor progress and how the interventions we use are working by recording data, adjusting along the way to ensure we are meeting each child’s individual needs. We use ABA principles and techniques to develop basic skills such as looking, listening and imitating, as well as complex skills such as reading, conversing and understanding another person’s perspective.
ABA is the typical starting point for very young children with autism, with a recommendation of as many as 25 to 40 hours a week. It continues to have a role for many or most children with autism, even as skills improve and they begin to make friends and socialize. ABA is both safe and effective. When deciding where to put time, energy, and resources, ABA remains the most proven way to develop socially significant skills in children with autism.