Applied behavioral analysis (ABA) uses a scientific approach to understanding and changing behavioral patterns. One of the biggest goals in an ABA program is to condition behavior and teach skills based on conclusive short and long-term metrics. This is the basic thesis for what ABA therapy is, but how can ABA help your child?
ABA is used to treat a wide array of conditions and can work to improve upon all areas associated with an ASD diagnosis, including communication skills, daily living skills, and social skills while also decreasing undesired behaviors. While it is most commonly associated as the gold standard for autism spectrum disorder, it has also been proven effective for issues such as ADHD, OCD, and many learning disorders.
Read below to learn about how ABA can be best applied to help a child receive their best version of therapy.
At its basis, ABA focuses on changing behaviors that are “socially significant” or important to the family. These can be social cues such as communication, or reading and learning skills. It can even extend as far as treating fine motor skills, personal hygiene, or everyday home habits.
As with most therapies or treatments, the success of ABA is based on routine and consistency — from the practitioner, patient, and parents alike. This is why ABA uses clear metrics, goals, and time frames to see if the treatment is effective or needs to be altered.
The consideration of your child’s unique needs should be the number one goal shared between you and the clinic you choose.
The child and their family will receive the primary benefits of ABA therapy. The child will have an increased skillset to navigate their life and the parents will learn new ways to interact with their child. Friends and family members will also be able to develop connections and friendships with the individual in new ways. Finally, teachers and other therapists will see a marked improvement in learning behavior and a willingness to embrace routine.
The myth is that ABA is only effective with children diagnosed with ASD, however, ABA focuses on changing behavior in general and is effective with everyone.
Since ABA focuses on behavior change, behavior analysts can work with a variety of diagnoses.
The symptoms of ASD, ADHD, or any other diagnoses are looked at through the science of behavior analysis. Once the function of the challenging behaviors is determined, a combination of interventions will be used to decrease the target behavior. This is consistent with any other diagnosis and its corresponding symptoms. Some common diagnoses that we see include, but are not limited to, ASD, ADD, OCD, social anxiety disorders, ODD, etc.
The first step in getting started with ABA therapy is to get a diagnosis, which is usually done by a psychologist or developmental pediatrician. Next, you will want to find a practice or clinic that offers ABA therapy to provide an assessment of your child’s skills and behaviors. While the diagnosis is usually done by an outside source, the assessment is done in-house so that an individualized treatment plan can be created for your child’s specific needs.
A common question besides “how can ABA help your child?” is about ABA is whether it meets insurance requirements for standard coverage. While there is not a one-size-fits-all answer, it is commonly covered by most insurance plans. At Ally Pediatric Therapy, we can take care of the legwork for insurance to see if you are covered without quantity limitations. After all, the goal of ABA is to decrease the stress in your family’s life, so let us deal with the clerical issues around insurance.
If you do have to pay out of pocket, make sure you understand all costs going into it through diligent conversation with your provider. There may be different options for payment plans or grant funding as well, depending on the clinic or your state.
ABA therapy is an extremely effective method of encouraging positive behaviors for children with autism. It is far-reaching and can help families take the stress out of their treatment structure. Its popularity and application continues to grow yearly, and a quality practitioner can make all the difference.
At Ally Pediatric Therapy, our name implies our goal: to be of aid and service to you and your family. We take great pride in our ABA therapists, our clinic, and the consistent results shown by our patients.
If you believe your child can benefit from enrollment in applied behavioral analysis, please reach out today — it could make a world of difference for their future.