Applied Behavioral Analysis is one of the most effective modern techniques for changing challenging behaviors in a child with autism. It is data-centric, emphasizes consistency and routine, and uses prompts and conditioning to evoke change. These strategies are only as effective as the clinics and therapists applying them, and prospective clients often wonder ‘what does an ABA therapist do?’ We’ve outlined what you should be looking for in a clinic and therapist in order to best help your child achieve positive behavioral progress.
What Can You Expect From ABA Therapy?
When enrolling a child in ABA therapy, it is important to understand what behaviors you are trying to develop and how. There is no one-size-fits-all methodology to help a child with autism, and a good ABA therapist will work with you and your child to create programming that targets specific actions and responses that occur commonly in their environment.
Similarly, having a good chain of communication and clear goals will go a long way for the relationship between you, your clinic, your provider, and your child. Make sure to ask any questions you might have for clarity prior to enrolling in any treatment.
Is ABA Therapy the Best Treatment for Autism?
Many experts consider applied behavioral analysis to be the premier treatment for children with autism. This doesn’t mean it will always be successful or it should always be prescribed, however, there has been an increasing trend in its use and success.
Typical goals and results of ABA therapy are centered on teaching children to show interest in common social stimulus, communicate more clearly, and to reduce harmful behaviors. One element of ABA that has led to the effectiveness of treatment is isolating and analyzing data about smaller behaviors before changing them and re-integrating these changes into everyday life.
This leads us to believe that if a child is in need of more structure, routine, and behavioral development, then ABA is the leading therapy option for Autism.
What Does an ABA Therapist Do?
While a BCBA is there to create the most appropriate ABA program for your child, a quality ABA technician is there to implement that programming. Their job (and our passion) is to create a plan that helps communication between parents, educators, therapists, and children. The outcome of a positive ABA experience should be sustainable long-term growth in behavior. Following are some things that you can expect from your ABA technician.
Create a Positive Environment
This pertains to the overall behavioral flow between home, a clinic, school, and other social settings. It is important that cues and responses can translate from any location, and the environment created by a good ABA technician will help to teach this.
Create Goals for Your Child
With the use of data and targeted response to it, it is easy to construct goals using ABA. There should be short-term behavioral changes, benchmarks that measure them, and each behavior should contribute to the long term growth, happiness, and well-being of your child.
Use Practices Like Pairing and Reinforcement
This methodology is when an ABA technician will connect themselves with the learner’s favorite items and activity, and then create reinforcing actions to develop a behavior. Through these teaching channels, a technician will establish themselves as an actor of change, allowing more rapid growth as your child learns to trust them.
During every session, data is collected to ensure that your child is progressing or mastering each goal/target of their program. It is important that the data is there so the BCBA can use it to drive programming and continue success for your child.
Encourages and Assists in Development and Learning
Like any relationship between a client and patient, there is an integral human element to it. The theory of ABA alone will not lead your child to success — you should look for a technician who will be positive, encourage your child, and that will establish a connection with all elements of your child’s life. Ultimately, encouragement and structure are two of the most valuable things for changing behavior, and your child will look to learn from their practitioner.
We always recommend having a thorough discussion with a potential technician about their viewpoints on ABA, and how they will help your child accomplish the goals agreed upon by both of you. This will allow you to be on the same page from start to finish in a successful therapy routine.
Works Themselves Out of a Job
ABA technicians should be focused on encouraging long-term growth. Any quality practitioner will agree with that notion, and the hope is that your child may no longer need those types of therapy soon.
Another vital component of any ally to a child with autism (and especially their provider) is adaptability. As we have seen a need for different settings, communication methods, and timelines, a quality practitioner should still be able to prescribe ABA in a manner that shows consistent results.
ABA Therapy at Ally Pediatric
Having established the difference between an ABA therapist and ABA technician, what they do, and what the realistic expectations for implementation look like, it is now time to consider if ABA treatment is best for your child. We highly recommend this treatment for children with autism, and at Ally Pediatric Therapy, we pride ourselves on our ABA programs.
If you think this is a path best for you and your family, please reach out today to start a conversation. We’d love to discuss the best future possible for your child.