Applied Behavior Analysis
Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the change in behavior.
More simply stated, ABA is simply the application of behavioral principles, to everyday situations, that will, over time, increase or decrease targeted behaviors. ABA has been used to help individuals acquire many different skills including language skills, self-help skills, social skills as well as play skills; in addition, these principles can help to decrease maladaptive behaviors such as aggression, self-stimulatory behaviors, and self-injury.
Comprehensive Treatment Methods
Center for ABA uses a wide range of ABA methods so that we have many options to find the treatment that works best for your child’s individual needs. The following are some of the behavior change techniques we often use:
Verbal Behavior (VB)
A verbal behavior approach views communication as learned behavior that involves social interaction between speakers and listeners. Specifically, verbal behavior describes how people communicate with each other for a variety of different reasons. For example, your child may say the word, “Cookie,” in order to get a cookie, or because he or she sees a cookie, or because you asked your child, “What is your favorite food?” Another child may scream, pout or tantrum because he wants or sees a cookie. Verbal behavior explains that both children are communicating in a way that has been most reinforced in the past. By understanding this verbal behavior framework, you and your child’s behavior intervention team can use ABA methods to teach your child to communicate with others in an appropriate and effective manner.
Natural Environment Training (NET)
Natural Environment Teaching use your child’s current interests and activities to guide instruction. These techniques involve either capturing or contriving learning opportunities that arise in your child’s natural, and oftentimes play-based, environment. For example, while playing with your child, you might notice him or her reaching for a preferred toy, such as a book. You could capture this learning opportunity by giving the instruction, “Say, ‘Book’.” Once your child attempts to say the word book, then you could reinforce that behavior with praise and by reading your child the book. An advantage of this technique is that your child may display very few negative behaviors since his or her current motivation is used to teach new skills. Additionally, since NET occurs in the natural context, it promotes generalization of appropriate behaviors.
Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT)
This method involves presenting your child with distinct learning opportunities in which his or her correct responses will be reinforced. For example, you could present a learning opportunity by saying, “Clap hands,” and then when your child correctly claps his or her hands, you could reward your child with praise, tickles, and a favorite treat. This simple interaction would likely increase your child’s ability to follow the instruction to clap his or her hands. DTT can be used to teach countless adaptive skills that can then be built-up into more complex and functional behaviors. A benefit of using DTT is that it allows your child to experience frequent success because the tasks are simple and clear. Also, with DTT your child receives a great deal of reinforcement to strengthen new skills.