ABA Therapy and Its Importance Stacy SinonIntro to PsychAssignment 7Capella UniversityJanuary 2018 ABATherapy and Its Importance Oneof the most debilitating developmental and psychological conditions is that ofAutism Spectrum disorder, which has skyrocketed in the past decade. Because ofpsychological and educational advancements, the evidence-based science of appliedbehavioral analysis has been developed as the primary treatment approach forthose with a spectrum disorder. PhD Jolie S. Brams(2008) has described applied behavioral analysis as “an ordered, sequencedapproach to learning that can be measured and quantified” (p.28). Shecontinues: “The broad goal is to maximize the child’s behavioral repertoire andsolidify his or her ability to learn from instruction and experience. Appliedbehavioral analysis techniques can address each of the skill deficits thatinterfere with the developmental trajectory of autistic child” (p. 28).
The methods of ABA therapy stem from theories andpractices of Watson (1913), Thorndike (1921), and B.F. Skinner (1938) (Leaf et.al, 2016). Many studies andmethods of research have confirmed that ABA is the closest to a cure for Autismas any other (Pollack 2016). In fact, the UnitedStates Surgeon General (1999) has declared, “Thirty years of researchdemonstrated the efficacy of applied behavioral methods in reducing inappropriatebehavior and in increasing communication, learning and appropriate socialbehavior” (n.p.).
Sinceautism is diagnosed usually within the first three years of birth, expertsimplore that children receive early intervention treatment. Applied behavioralanalysis has far-reaching and seemingly endless options for clinical andeducational treatment, especially for those who utilize early intervention. Children who receive home based early intensive behavioraltreatment have been shown to make substantial, sustained gains in IQ/DQ,language, academic performance, and adaptive behavior (Leaf et. al, 2016). Researchershave found that when children receive early intensive behavioral interventions,it has the potential to save both the state and federal government hundreds ofthousands of dollars per individual (Sambandam, 2014). Applied behavioralanalysis is not a specific technique or treatment (Brahms, 2008), and the”programs” can be performed in the home, in clinic settings, or in schools andthroughout the community.
The availability and diversity of ABA is imperativedue to the nature of autism being an umbrella ailment, and interventions need to be geared to the individualchild (Brams, 2008). Many insurance companies and manystates now require that ABA be included in health insurance plans due to thegreat need of ABA services. Even though ABA is a form of behavioral psychology,behavior reduction or elimination is not the only targeted solution for the approach.”Tantrums and/or aggressive behaviors are also obstacles to learning”(Brams, 2008, p. 28), which can be maintained with the help of ABA therapy. The repertoire of appliedbehavioral analysis spans throughout the stages of development and is cateredto each individual. Programs and implementations include (but are not limitedto): cognitive and language development (McDonald, 2014), fine and gross motorskills, nonvocal inhibition, emotional regulation, gaining attention, safetyawareness, play skills, dressing, handwashing and other hygiene skills,behavior reduction (as seen in those with aggression, property destruction,disruption, stereotypy, etc.), and tidying.
Examples of variousprogram include: Language development:echoics that are used to help a child practice oral motor skills or improvespeech by chaining words, sentences, and phrases. Motor skills: using atripod grasp to hold a crayon, pencil, or other writing utensil; dribbling abasketball, etc. Actions: Duringdiscrete trial training, the client is taught to distinguish each action suchas “reading” or “dancing”Objects: This also canbe performed during DTT lessons, and is used to help teach the patient to tact(recognize) items. Manding: This programis used to help children communicate, as a request or mand is the basic andfirst form of communication. Examples include withholding preferred items suchas toys or edibles and teaching the child to ask (“mand”) for the desired item.Following instructions:teaching the child to respond to a certain stimulus or even a two-three stepcourse of action.
Waiting: waitingprograms teach patience and inhibition, often decreasing maladaptive behaviorsduring waiting times Sharing and turntaking: this social activity not only helps teach children how to play but alsointeract with their peers in a socially acceptable context. This may includesportsmanship programs. Detecting emotions:these programs can help a child with autism in an experiential role to be moreempathetic and receptive to others’ emotions by detecting and responding tothose cues. ABA is provided throughdiscrete trial and naturalistic teaching in both individual and group settings,while led by a one-on-one therapist (MacDonald, 2014). Because autisticchildren do not learn from observation as their neurotypical peers do, thosewith autism require more repetition and reinforcement than those who are notbiodivergent. To help children expand their play repertoire, therapists mayimplement certain types of creativity including functional, symbolic, andpretend play into their natural environment teaching. PhD Jolie S.
Brams (2008)has emphasized: As a result of neurobiologicaldevelopment and the benefit of instruction, over time, most children matureinto abstract thinkers. Abstract thinking in young children does not equatewith the ability to sort out complex motivations. Instead, one aspect ofabstract thinking translates into seeing an action as a means to an end.
Children with autism generally do not have this understanding, and theirmotivation for learning a behavior is limited. In addition, children withautism are limited in their ability to enjoy and benefit from representationalplay. (p.
27)Asa behavioral therapist in the field of applied behavioral analysis, I cancertainly proclaim that the intervention has the potential to transformlives—both for the patient and those who are involved in the client’s lives. Behaviorand other targeted outcomes take time to develop and improve, but ABA hashelped improve the lives of those with ASD for over thirty years. Overall, ABAtherapy can help the patient “learn to learn” (Brams, 2008, p. 27). Because ofthe advancements of psychology, educational and clinical achievements are beingdeveloped and improved daily. ReferencesBrams, J. S.
(2008).Managing autism in children: The ABCs of applied behavioral analysis. PsychiatricTimes, 25(2), 26-33. Retrieved from http://library.capella.
edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.library.capella.edu/docview/204639405?accountid=27965Leaf, J. B., Leaf, R.
, Mceachin, J., Taubman, M.,Ala’i-rosales, S.
, Ross, R. K. . . . Weiss, M. J.
(2016). Applied behavioranalysis is a science and, therefore, progressive. Journal of Autismand Developmental Disorders, 46(2), 720-731.doi:http://dx.doi.org.library.
“Assessing progress and outcome of early intensivebehavioral intervention for toddlers with autism”. Research indevelopmental disabilities (0891-4222), 35 (12), p. 3632.Pollak,Y. (2016). Is Applied Behavioral Analysis Education, Medicine, or Both? A Studyof the Funding Challenges That Accompany An Autism Diagnosis.
Seton Hall Law Review, 47(1), 267. Sambandam, E., Rangaswami, K., & Thamizharasan, S.(2014). Efficacy of ABA programme for children with autism to improve generaldevelopment, language and adaptive behaviour. Indian Journal ofPositive Psychology, 5(2), 192-195.
Retrieved from http://library.capella.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.library.
capella.edu/docview/1614029590?accountid=27965United States SurgeonGeneral (1998). Mental health: A report of the Surgeon General. Washington, DC:Author.