What is ABA and what is an ABA programme?

What exactly is Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA)?

Applied Behaviour Analysis is the science of changing socially significant behaviour.  It is the application of principles derived from the science to change a person’s behaviour in a way that benefits them and others around them.  Behaviour analysts seek to understand the relationships between the environment and behaviour in order to change people’s lives by teaching them skills that help them achieve their personal outcomes.

Typically developing children learn without intervention as the world around them provides the right conditions to learn language, play, and social skills. Children with autism learn less easily from the environment. They have the potential to learn, but it takes a very structured environment, one where conditions are optimised for acquiring the same skills typical children learn “naturally.” ABA provides us with the tools to structure the environment to enable children with autism to learn.

Decades of research have validated treatments based on ABA to support its efficacy in teaching young children with autism and other related learning difficulties. ABA is the only scientifically validated treatment for ASD and is recommended by the U.S Surgeon General.  As with all educational fields it’s a dynamic field and continues to develop with the ever growing research.

How does it work in practice?

We can provide you with a programme that targets lots of skill areas (e.g. communication, play, toilet training etc.) or you can choose to work on 1 skill or problem behaviour (e.g. reducing aggression towards others, tolerating aversive situations such as going to the hairdressers etc.).

Typically, skills are broken down to their simplest components and taught through a system of reinforcement. Prompts (little hints) are provided as necessary when the child is learning a new skill. As a skill is mastered the prompts are faded until your child can perform the task independently. Ultimately we want to generalise every taught skill so that your child can perform independently across a variety of settings and people.

ABA is a step-by-step approach and it is data-based which means your child’s progress is well documented. This documentation is reviewed regularly so that we can amend the programme or behaviour intervention plan and ensure that as your child progresses our programmes are adapted and developed according to their needs.

How do we decide what skills to teach?

Your Keys For Learning supervisor will have an in-depth chat with your during the initial assessment about what your goals are for your child.  To ensure your child’s programme is tailored to their needs we use a variety of detailed assessments.  Primarily, we use the Verbal Behaviour Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP), The Assessment of Basic Language and Learner Skills – Revised and Essentials for Living.

For more information please contact us.

Boy with a book