What is ABA Therapy?
If you are the parent of a child with autism or an individual with autism, you may have heard of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA). ABA therapy is an effective treatment for autism spectrum disorder and has many benefits. By learning more about this scientifically-backed autism intervention, you’ll be able to decide if enrolling in an ABA therapy program is right for you, or your child.
What is ABA Therapy?
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a scientific approach that has been used for over 50 years. ABA therapy is based on the principles of behaviorism, which asserts that the most effective approach to improving the lives of the individual is through objective, behavioral approaches. ABA is an effective treatment for any individual, and it was first applied to teach individuals with autism and developmental disabilities. By understanding the behavior and how it works, ABA is an effective treatment for individuals with autism.
ABA therapy focuses on increasing desired behaviors (e.g., communication, social skills, academic performance) and reducing problem behaviors (e.g., aggression, self-injury, tantrums). ABA specialists often work with children, but adults can also benefit from this type of therapy.
How Does ABA Therapy Work?
ABA therapy is usually provided in a one-on-one setting with varying providers, including a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). The role of an RBT is to collect ongoing data and work directly with the individual under the guidance of the BCBA. The BCBA is responsible for assessing the learner, creating an individualized treatment plan, and overseeing the progress toward those goals over time. ABA programs are individualized to meet the unique needs of each patient, and the length of treatment depends on the goals of the individual. The BCBA is also in charge of providing training and support to the RBT, caregivers, or family of the learner.
Common ABA Therapy Techniques
ABA therapy techniques most often focus on changing behavior through the use of reinforcement. Some of the most common ABA techniques include Positive Reinforcement and Discrete Trial Training. Positive reinforcement is used to increase desired behaviors. For example, when a child who is learning to communicate vocally says “banana” and subsequently receives a piece of banana from mom, this is considered positive reinforcement. The child, when motivated to eat a banana, will be more likely to say “banana” in the future when their mom is holding one.
Discrete Trial Training involves breaking down a task into small, manageable steps. Each step is then taught to the individual until they are able to complete the task independently. Other ABA techniques used at Empower Behavioral Health include functional communication training, token economy, natural environment training, Premack Principle, and more. ABA therapy is often used in combination with other treatments, such as speech therapy or occupational therapy.
Is ABA Therapy Harmful?
There is a lot of controversy surrounding ABA therapy and one common misconception is that it is harmful. This is not the case. In fact, the majority of parents who have used ABA therapy with their children report positive results. At Empower Behavioral Health, we work closely with the individuals and caregivers we serve to ensure they are in agreement with the goals and teaching strategies being used. ABA therapy is highly individualized, so each child is only exposed to activities and therapies that are appropriate for their needs.
Is ABA Therapy Effective?
ABA therapy has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of issues, including autism spectrum disorder and ADHD. While ABA therapy does require commitment and effort, the rewards can be abundant. ABA is an effective treatment across the lifespan for individuals with autism and developmental disabilities. Through decades of research, ABA is recognized and endorsed by many, including the U.S. Surgeon General, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Institute of Mental Health.
Benefits of ABA Therapy
ABA therapy has many benefits that can help people with autism and other developmental disabilities. ABA therapy can help to improve communication skills, social skills, self-help skills, and motor skills. In addition, aba therapy can also help to reduce maladaptive behaviors, such as self-injurious and repetitive behavior. Due to the individualized nature of ABA therapy, specific benefits will vary depending on the needs and goals of the individual.
Does Insurance Cover ABA Therapy?
If you’re considering ABA therapy, you may be wondering if it’s covered by insurance. The good news is that ABA therapy is typically covered by insurance, although there may be some restrictions and limitations depending on your specific policy. Most insurance companies will require a medical autism diagnosis, along with a referral from a physician before they will cover ABA. If you’re not sure you have what you need, we are happy to help.
Getting Started with ABA Therapy at Empower Behavioral Health
Empower Behavioral Health provides comprehensive autism services for individuals of all ages. Whether you are looking for a full-time ABA program or need to spend time on a few key functional skills, we can help. Our mission is to empower individuals with autism and their families through quality services. Contact us today to learn more about our in-person and virtual ABA therapy services across the state of Texas.