What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?

What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the science of behavior change and learning. ABA can be applied in many contexts (organizational behavior change, education, behavioral pharmacology, animal training, etc.) and is beneficial to children with many diagnoses. Currently, insurance funding in South Carolina only covers Applied Behavior Analysis for individuals diagnosed with autism. ABA has been found to be the most effective treatment for children and adults with autism, which has been supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Research Council and hundreds of peer reviewed studies. ABA relies on scientific principles of positive reinforcement, behavior shaping, etc. and data-based decision making to develop functional and socially significant behaviors. Services are intensive, numerous hours a week (targeting 20 hours a week for the preschool population) in keeping with best outcomes from research for children with autism. The goal of ABA is to reduce maladaptive behaviors and increase language and learning skills. For example, maladaptive behaviors targeted in ABA can include extreme tantrums, excessive and interfering self-stimulating behaviors (stimming), feeding limitations, aggression, self-injury, elopement (running away) and sleep interfering behaviors. As we reduce maladaptive behaviors, we teach important skills such as functional communication, social skills, self-help skills, skills for learning and attending, toileting, play, and increasing safety awareness. We achieve these goals through intensive teaching, natural environment training, careful data collection, collaboration, and fun!

Every child with autism is different and that is what makes individualized programing so important. At CPR we look at each child as an individual and require parents and caregivers participation in our sessions and in parent training. ABA sessions are most successful when we partner with the parents/caregivers, the true experts on your child!. To individualize each program we will look at the age of your child and the skills they currently have as well as the behaviors they currently display. We will work with you to determine the intensity of the therapy, including the number of hours per week, the setting of the therapy and the best time to have therapy.

It is important for parents and caregivers of children with autism to know that ABA does not change who your child is on the inside. Rather, we are changing the environment around them in order to teach socially significant behaviors and skills that maximize talents and abilities. ABA is not a quick fix or easy; it takes commitment and collaboration from families, schools and the child's community.

Our ABA therapy is provided both in the office, home, and community. This is to ensure that the skills learned in the office carry over at home and in home therapies promote learning in a child’s natural environment. Services are provided 1:1 with a Registered Behavior Technician under the supervision of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). For more information about BCBAs and the certification process you can see the BACB website at BACB.com. We hope to use the tools of ABA to help your child and family maximize happiness, independence, and success.