As the rate of children with diagnosed autism goes up and we learn more about the different developmental and behavioral disorders that affect children, it’s clear parents and schools alike need a definitive strategy to help these children outside the basic model of classroom learning. For those without experience in this field, however, this task can prove daunting.
So what strategies can you use to help out here and foster positive growth in children?
Well, that’s where we come in. This is our guide on understanding ABA therapy techniques! Before we break down the individual techniques, we need to understand what ABA therapy is.
What is ABA Therapy?
ABA therapy is short for Applied Behavior Analysis. This looks at utilizing the idea of enforcing positive behavior through reward or positive reinforcement to help break away from negative practices. When a child learns these benefits come from enacting a positive behavior, they become more likely to repeat that behavior.
The therapy is most effective on young children, as their developing brains latch onto the concept harder than older children. After all, older kids have more developed (and thus more set in learned behaviors) brains.
ABA therapy for kids comes with a wide range of benefits, helping to improve critical thinking and language skills as well as help them become more self-sufficient.
ABA Therapy Techniques
One of the main techniques therapists will use with ABA therapy is discreet trial teaching. This works off of the “encourage positive behavior with a reward” method we mentioned earlier.
Children can receive prompts to help get them to practice the behavior. However, it’s important to give them time to do the instruction before you prompt it. Otherwise, the child becomes reliant on the prompt and will have difficulty performing self-sufficiently.
The therapist will then start to prompt less and less. They do so until the child can perform the task without prompting. Therapists can also use video or pictures to provide a model of behavior for the child to follow.
Another big part of ABA therapy comes from implementing naturalistic teaching into the classroom. This involves observing a child and finding out what they are interested in, what motivates their actions. You can then take these interests and motivations and use them to assist with helping the child learn.
For example, let’s say you had a student who was really into superheroes but struggling with language skills. So, you bring superhero toys in and ask them to tell you which toy they want by name. This will help to foster development with initiative from the child’s end (increasing engagement).
In some cases, therapists will use pairing with ABA therapy for children with less-developed language skills. This involves tying sounds a child can make to certain activities. They can then make connections in their head without using spoken words.
Finally, it’s important to generalize what a child learns in therapy to other settings. Incorporating what your child learns into their home and/or school life helps reinforce the therapy.
On the Road to Building New Skills
So, now that you know all about ABA therapy techniques and how they help children, you’re ready to help foster growth in the children in your life! And if you’re searching for more tips on child development and strong educational strategies for them? Well, make sure to check out the other articles on our website!
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