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The Therapy of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for Students with Autism

written by: KLeeBanks•edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch•updated: 12/13/2012

Typically, parents always look for the best education for their autistic child. It is true that some children will respond better in some educational communities than in others. In schools with programs with ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis), students with autism can thrive and have academic success.

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    Benefits of ABA for Students with Autism

    There are different theories that promise results to help parents and teachers grow social and academic skills of students with autism. With ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis), a behavioral intervention program, autistic students will have a professional evaluation of existing skills and strategies can be created to provide effective behavioral interventions for growing those skills. The ABA program can be included in an autistic student's IEP (Individualize Education Plan) or initiated by parents as a separate resource of results and strategies that are brought into the school and presented to the teacher in an autistic student's classroom.

    The applied behavioral analysis is based on strengthening an autistic student's existing skills by repeating specific actions and verbal behavioral skills that students must practice daily. By breaking down the behavioral skills into doable components and sequences beginning with simple to complex tasks, autistic students can practice skills and reinforce positive skills. The autistic student gets rewarded with abundant positive prompts after each behavioral or verbal interaction reinforces the desirable change.

    The ABA program also includes teaching imitation skills in a "command/prompt method" where a teacher provides a prompt or command for the autistic student to initiate and if the student achieves the desired behavior, there are rewards and if not, there are repeats of the command/prompt and a repeat for the student to produce the expected behavior. The desired behavior is then reinforced and the student can repeat the expected behavior in the classroom.

    Another method that is used to increased positive desired behavior for students with autism is called " errorless learning," where the student and parent are trained for daily practice of the behavioral intervention. Students can make mistakes and correct them with the proper prompts and reinforcers. In order for students with autism to understand how to change inappropriate behaviors, they must be able to see an alternative behavior to reach towards. What is crucial is that they understand the expected behavior within the social norms and get training and rewards in accomplishing desired behaviors in the classroom and in society.