Finding out that your child has autism after a diagnosis might turn your world upside down, but it does not have to be this way. There is no prescription for autism or a single road map which every parent could follow to help their child. The truth is that no one can be fully prepared for an autism diagnosis or how to respond.
The daily challenges that come with having a special-needs child can seem overwhelming for parents. Parents should not let their fear hold them back, but they should rather be asking questions such as “What to do next?” One of the most effective treatments through which parents can help their child is by signing them up for ABA therapy. It is a treatment which is based on science and has been shown to be the most effective.
When it comes to autism therapy, the benefits of ABA therapy have been validated after conducting extensive independent scientific research. By enrolling your child for ABA therapy Miami, covered by most major insurances, you will be taking a first and critical step in responding to the diagnosis.
What Does ABA Therapy Miami Consist Of?
ABA therapy consists of high quality evidence-based interventions in the early childhood phase of a special-needs child in order to provide special needs kids with the most effective science-based treatment. It is based on the science of behavior and learning.
The therapy applies understanding of the way behavior works in real-life situations. The purpose of ABA therapy is to increase the behaviors which are considered helpful and decrease those behaviors which affect learning or are harmful. ABA therapy helps with the following.
- Decreases problem behaviors.
- Improves academics, memory, social skills, focus and attention.
- Increases communication and language skills.
With decades of studies conducted on the methods of behavioral analysis, it has been proved that ABA therapy helps various kinds of learners gain a variety of skills, from learning a new language to healthier lifestyles. Since the 1960s, ABA therapy has been used to treat children with developmental disorders such as autism.
How Does ABA Therapy Work?
ABA stands for Applied Behavior Analysis and involves different techniques for changing and understanding behavior. ABA is considered a flexible treatment program.
- May involve one on one teaching and group instruction.
- Teaches skills which are extremely useful for everyday living.
- It can be provided in various locations including the child’s school, home and in the community. We find it to be most effective in the home.
- It can be adapted to meet individual needs.
One of the main strategies that are used in ABA is positive reinforcement. The technique is based on the principle that when a behavior is followed by something which is valuable such as a reward, the person is more likely to continue on with the said behavior and repeat it. Over time, it helps encourage positive behavior change.
Therapists would first identify a goal behavior. Every time the individual uses the skill or behavior successfully, they would be rewarded. The reward has to be meaningful for the child such as access to the playground, watching a video, praise, playing with a toy or reading a book. The positive rewards will encourage the individual to continue with the behavior.
ABC – Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence
Understanding what happens before the occurring of a behavior (antecedents) and what happens after conducting the behavior (consequences) is an integral part of ABA therapy. These are further described below.
- Antecedent: It is what actually occurs before the desired behavior. It could be a request or command. It might even be something physical such as an object or toy, and sound, light or something in the individual’s environment.
- Behavior: It is the response or lack of response of the individual to the antecedent. It could be a verbal response or an action.
- Consequence: Now, this is what happens directly after a specific behavior. It could be positive reinforcement to encourage the desired behavior, or no reaction for inappropriate/ incorrect responses.
With continue practice, individuals would be able to replace their inappropriate behavior with the right behavior. A good ABA therapist will not only practice this, but teach the family to work on this.
What Does ABA Therapy Involve?
Keep in mind that an ABA therapy program is not a single size fits all type of program. There are different programs which are made to meet the needs of various learners. The main purpose of ABA therapy is to help each individual to work on their skills and to make them more successful and independent.
Ongoing Assessment and Planning
ABA therapy is customized to meet the needs of each individual on the basis of their preferences, family situation, interests, skills and needs. Treatment goals would be written for each person with autism. The following are some of the things that goals are based on.
- Academic and learning skills
- Motor skills
- Play and leisure
- Self-case (Such as using the toilet and showering)
- Social skills
- Language and communication
The instruction plan for your child would be broken down into small steps. Each of the skills would be taught by the therapist according to the steps.
ABA Philosophy and Techniques
A variety of ABA procedures are used by the therapist. Caregivers, family members, and parents receive training so that they can support their skills and learning.
Autistic individuals will benefit from many opportunities to practice and learn skills every day. Learners will receive plenty of positive reinforcements to show socially appropriate behaviors and useful skills. Positive social interactions are emphasized.
Why ABA Therapy Is Right For Your Child?
ABA therapy helps autistic children and helps them use expected behaviors and control their challenging impulses. The behavioral skills would have a huge impact on the learning ability of individuals and will make a difference in how they manage social experiences and school.
ABA is definitely worth a try. However, before getting started, make sure that you are working with a reputable company which emphasizes the needs of your family. Work with the therapist to set realistic measurable goals. Monitor your child’s responses to the therapy and therapist to determine if it is successful.