Autistic kids experience different struggles every day, including speech, language, and communication difficulties. Some can only speak a handful of words, while others find it challenging to have a conversation. In severe cases, the child could be completely non-verbal. If your child has autism, they can benefit from applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy.
What is aba therapy?
Applied behavioral analysis is a type of therapy that helps kids with autism learn behavioral skills and overcome problematic behavior like hurting themselves. Aba is backed up by studies and is based on the scientific study of behavior. Ideally, it is based on developing communication skills and increasing social behaviors through peer training, visual aids, and enhancing skills to help the child cope better.
There are different forms of aba therapy Ventura, and all are based on the idea of positively rewarding specific behaviors, which leads to the kid doing it repeatedly. The earlier types of aba therapy focused on dividing skills into very small steps and rewarding them when they do all the steps correctly. They might also have been punished for doing a step incorrectly. However, punishment is no longer used in aba therapy today.
Aba therapy has evolved, and in the newer approaches, not every activity needs to be enforced by the clinician when the child is learning. Suppose the child went to the bathroom and pressed a tissue dispenser, and the tissue came out. In that case, the clinician will encourage them to press again and have them learn to get the tissue for themselves the next time. That means the clinician didn’t plan anything, and the learning is incidental.
Forms of aba therapy
Discrete trial training (DTT)
Discrete trial training is founded on the earliest forms of aba, so it is very repetitive. In this approach, the clinician leads the child through several tasks in the same order repeatedly. In this case, the child receives a reward every time they correctly accomplish a task. For instance, the clinician sits down with the child and lays out some materials in front of them. They are given a task, for example, picking a triangle, and when they do it right, they earn a reward known as primary reinforcement.
Pivotal response treatment (PRT)
This form of aba therapy goes beyond strict task-oriented instruction, and it is more driven by the child than the therapist. Here the therapist follows the child’s lead, but with skills in mind, they want the child to learn. For instance, the child is about to join kindergarten, and you want to teach them letters. In that case, you layout materials they might be interested in a room, including block letters, and ask them to choose what they want to learn, then use rewards related to the skill.
The early start Denver model (ESDM)
This one involves creating activities the child is interested in, which are play-based, and the therapist integrates the traditional forms of aba if necessary. For instance, if they can’t concentrate, have them sit on a chair in a structured form.
Aba therapy for kids with autism helps strengthen the child’s behavioral and communication skills.
Infographic provided by MySpectrum, autism teletherapy