If you have a child who has been diagnosed with autism, it's important that you work with a team of therapists and physicians to come up with strategies that will best help your child learn and grow. In recent years, many therapy centers recommend a type of therapy called Applied Behavioral Analysis, or ABA, for children with autism. This is a multi-faceted therapy approach that aims to understand how your child uniquely behaves and learns, and then uses that information to increase language and communication, improve focus, and decrease problematic behaviors.
One reason why ABA therapy is so successful is because it combines several strategies into one. Here are three such strategies that lie at the center of the therapy.
Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence
This strategy aims to understand what triggers certain behaviors in your child (the antecedent.) This could be a certain noise, a chance in environment, or even simply stress. The child's exact behavior is also documented. The behavior could be a physical behavior, such as rocking, a verbal response, such as yelling, or something else entirely. Finally, the consequence, or the way others react to the behavior and what ultimately happens to the child, is examined. The current consequence to your child's behavior might be that you leave them alone to decompress. By changing that consequence, you can slowly start to change your child's behavior.
People have a natural tendency to react negatively to negative behavior. But ABA therapy relies on positive reinforcement. You'll aim to give a positive reaction when your child does something positive, rather than responding negatively to bad behaviors. In time, your child will begin displaying more positive behaviors as they seek out more positive rewards. Your therapist will work with you and your child to determine which positive behaviors you want to reward, and how to best reward them.
Another key component of ABA therapy is that it is always adjusting and changing as your child's needs change. The therapist will evaluate your child throughout every interaction. As their communication skills, social skills, and other behaviors change, the program will be slowly tweaked to keep honing your child's progress. This ensures faster results than a stagnant program that you may be tempted to stick to long after it has already had its maximum effect.
ABA therapy has been an excellent advancement for the management of autism symptoms. Talk to a therapist to learn more about how this therapy may be implemented for your child, specifically.
For more information, you will want to check out a company such as the Behavior Change Institute.