Unlocking the Mystery of Autism – Exploring the Benefits of Applied Behavior Analysis
Being in a society where one in every 44 children has autism, it is our responsibility to stay abreast of the latest developments in all areas of healthcare. Autism is an area of growing importance that requires ongoing research and understanding as increased diagnosis rates reveal more about this mystifying disorder. Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) founded in the 1960’s is the only evidenced based treatment for autism. In this blog post, we will examine the history and current applications of ABA therapy.
Autism is a neurological disorder that can cause impairment in social interaction and communication. The symptoms associated with autism vary, depending on the severity of the disorder; however, common signs include difficulty forming relationships or communicating with others, repetitive behaviors and interests, and problems regulating emotion, often resulting in outbursts or difficulties maintaining focus on activities.
Autism is typically diagnosed using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) standards. Early intervention is strongly recommended to support children who have autism to reach their full potential.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Autism
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an evidence-based therapy rooted in the study of learning and behavior. It enables practitioners to analyze why problem behaviors occur and designs effective interventions to address them. ABA practitioners utilize positive reinforcement, shaping, prompting, and fading techniques to assist individuals in acquiring skills, reducing undesirable behavior, and increasing social acceptance.
Some issues that can be addressed with ABA include the development of language and communication skills, life skills such as self-care and grooming routines, social interaction strategies, emotional regulation, coping strategies, and more. ABA is a dynamic field that encourages collaboration between behavior analysis experts, clinicians, educators, and families for maximum patient success.
ABA therapy’s goal is to help increase beneficial behaviors while decreasing behaviors that interfere with learning or are harmful. ABA therapy is particularly beneficial in treating autism, as it can increase language and communication skills and improve attention, focus, social skills, and memory. Additionally, it can reduce problem behaviors. For this reason, early intervention services and support should be obtained for young children diagnosed with autism to maximize the potential positive outcomes associated with ABA therapy.
When ABA Therapy is used as a treatment for children with autism, it can help them learn communication and life skills ranging from toileting and personal hygiene to respecting personal boundaries and transitioning into adult roles in society. ABA also helps people with autism work through their challenges by learning about how their behavior affects other people and the environment and helping them develop coping strategies during difficult times. Ultimately, this type of therapy is proven effective by research and experience to help improve everyday functioning in those with autism while helping them reach their highest potential.
- Fernandes, F. D. M., & Amato, C. A. de la H. (2013). Análise de Comportamento Aplicada e Distúrbios do Espectro do Autismo: revisão de literatura. CoDAS, 25(3), 289–296. https://doi.org/10.1590/s2317-17822013000300016
- Foxx, R. M. (2008). Applied Behavior Analysis Treatment of Autism: The State of the Art. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 17(4), 821–834. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chc.2008.06.007
- Yu, Q., Li, E., Li, L., & Liang, W. (2020). Efficacy of Interventions Based on Applied Behavior Analysis for Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Meta-Analysis. Psychiatry Investigation, 17(5), 432–443. https://doi.org/10.30773/pi.2019.0229
- Anderson, L. K. (2022). Autistic experiences of applied behavior analysis. Autism, 136236132211182. https://doi.org/10.1177/13623613221118216