Your child may have recently been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and your pediatrician or fellow autism parent mentioned Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Now that ABA is all over Instagram and TikTok, you might have even more questions about how this scientifically based autism treatment. Let’s analyze the top ten most frequently asked questions about ABA to give you a better picture of how it works.
1. Does Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy Work?
Currently, Applied Behavior Analysis therapy is the only evidence-based treatment for autism. This treatment has passed scientific tests of usefulness, quality, and effectiveness. Research shows that Applied Behavior Analysis is imperative for gains in communication and improved independence related to daily living skills. Though not all ABA programs are the same, the Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) in charge of your case will customize one to the specific needs of your child and family. The mission of your ABA treatment should be to ensure a child has access to the same opportunities as their neurotypical peers. Independence is critical for that!
Here at ABA Centers of America, results are significant, but the journey is crucial. We want to ensure your child grows and develops with their goals while enjoying the process. No two cases will ever be the same. Expect individualized treatment backed by science and compassion.
2. Does Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy Cure Autism?
There currently is no cure for autism. It is imperative to recognize that you can manage symptoms and help individuals with autism become as independent as possible through Applied Behavior Analysis therapy, but there is no cure. We want parents to understand from the beginning that Autism Spectrum Disorder is a complicated condition that expresses itself differently in each person it affects. There is no way to “get rid” of Autism, but it is possible to increase the quality of life.
Researchers continue to work to understand the cause of the disorder, but it is still not completely understood. Some evidence points to prenatal conditions, genetics, and other unknown factors, but many questions remain. The mission of ABA therapy is to help individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder live fulfilling and purposeful lives they can be proud of and satisfied with.
3. Is ABA Therapy Considered a Type of Health Care?
The simple answer to this question is yes. Applied Behavior Analysis falls under the healthcare umbrella, even though the therapy can also be considered educational. ABA therapy is key to addressing behavioral health challenges in children with autism. Research shows that early intervention leads to significant and measurable improvement in a child’s development.
4. Does ABA Therapy Include Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy?
ABA therapy is separate from occupational therapy and speech therapy, but these therapies are complementary. The primary focus of Applied Behavior Analysis is on predicting and influencing behaviors. Speech therapy focuses on building and integrating effective communication and language, which may or may not be present. Occupational therapy focuses on physical rehabilitation, regaining physical capacity, and adjusting the individual to functioning within limits.
5. Does Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy Replace School?
Applied Behavioral Analysis was not designed to replace school or academics. It is not centered around academics, but it is crucial for learning. It helps ready an autistic child for school and behavioral expectations. When an early intervention like ABA is implemented for toddlers and preschool-age children, they can work on the skills needed to integrate into the classroom more organically.
School readiness includes communication development, self-care, hygiene, and joint attention. Individuals will also work on responding to teachers, following directions, eating, and being aware of one’s own personal space and body.
Additionally, Applied Behavior Analysis grows with your child. Their needs will change as they age through the school system. A good ABA therapist will recognize that and adapt to their client’s needs.
6. Can Parents Be a Part of ABA Therapy?
Yes! Parents are an important part of ABA treatment! Observing and participating in your child’s therapy sessions is a great way to learn more about development and autism. You will be able to integrate what you learn in sessions into how your home life.
7. Can Applied Behavior Analysis Be Used to Reduce Specific Behaviors?
ABA strategies use behavior modification and positive reinforcement to reduce or eliminate destructive, challenging behaviors. These can include aggression, self-injury, and self-stimulatory behaviors like biting or licking inappropriate objects. With that said, it is vital to understand that all behaviors serve a function. Understanding what triggers a behavior and the environmental factors involved can inform treatment.
When we talk about behavior modification, many individuals think of stimming. However, it is essential to realize that stimming is harmless and self-soothing much of the time. A good ABA therapist looks for alternatives that provide the same regulation of emotions as stimming. Stimming that does not cause problems in the child’s life is not problematic and, in some cases, might not even be targeted.
8. Is ABA Therapy Covered by Insurance?
Every healthcare plan is different, and coverage will vary depending on the state. However, most states have laws that require major insurance companies to offer coverage for ABA therapy. If you would like to learn more about your coverage and ABA Centers of America, contact us. One of our friendly, expert counselors can go over your options and analyze your insurance coverage.
9. Does ABA Include Positive Reinforcement?
Positive reinforcement is a critical component of Applied Behavioral Analysis. This data-driven, structured approach to behavior modification looks at what is reinforcing the unwanted behavior. Research shows that reinforced behavior is often repeated, and behaviors that are not reinforced often dissipate. Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) working one-on-one with your child have a variety of reward scenarios they can use, for example, letting the child play a favorite game or engage in fun activities.
10. Is Applied Behavioral Therapy Only for Autism?
The effectiveness of ABA is not limited to those on the autism spectrum. Individuals of different ages and skill levels can use the principles and strategies of ABA to accomplish and learn amazing things! Some companies even use ABA with their employees. Although, in most parts of the United States, insurance companies require a formal autism diagnosis for coverage.
ABA Therapy at ABA Centers of America
At ABA Centers of America, our Board Certified Behavior Analysts have years of specialized training. They keep updated on the latest research and treatment methods through continuing education. For more information about our centers, mission, and treatment options, contact us. ABA Centers of America offers free, no-obligation consultations.