Q. “What is Applied Behavior Analysis, and how can it benefit my child?”
A. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is widely recognized as a safe and effective treatment for autism, Down Syndrome, and other diagnoses. It has been endorsed by a number of state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Surgeon General. ABA focuses on the principles of behavior to bring about meaningful and positive changes for the learner, either by increasing or decreasing targeted behaviors. It can be used to help individuals acquire many different skills, such as language and communication, play skills, self-help skills, and toilet training; it can also be used to decrease maladaptive behaviors such as darting, dropping to the floor, aggression, and self-stimulatory behaviors. ABA is a discipline that employs objective data, which is collected on the responses made by the individual, to drive decision-making. Data supports whether the individual is making progress or not, and allows the provider to make educated intervention changes to increase the success. Essentially, ABA is an extremely effective teaching strategy that can be used to teach almost anything!
“Where do I begin?” The first step for families interested in starting an ABA program is to find a qualified provider, specifically a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (http://bacb.com) oversees credentialing within the profession, and assures that the professional has undergone specific training, coursework, and supervision requirements to qualify as a BCBA, as well as having passed the exam put forth by the board. Experience and qualifications are also essential aspects to consider when looking for a provider that can produce optimal treatment outcomes. Thus, a parent should always ask about the individual professionals’ specific experience and training regarding the implementation of ABA programs with individuals with Down Syndrome or other diagnoses. The provider you select will help you establish eligibility for funding through your insurance provider.
Alysia Fuhrmann, M.S., BCBA
Board Certified Behavior Analyst
Access Behavioral Solutions : www.accessbehavioralsolutions.com