Across the globe, several children suffer from a neurodevelopmental disorder. A child's struggle with learning something isn't always a general lack of interest or laziness. They may be battling a learning disability. In India alone, according to a study titled Prevalence of ASD and ADHD in Indian children, approximately 20 million children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and around 10 million have ADHD. However, the lack of awareness makes it difficult to get diagnosed accurately.
Gaining awareness and being open-minded about disabilities are the foundation of creating inclusivity. Applied-Behaviour Analysis Therapy is a therapeutic intervention majorly implemented for ASD and other neurodivergent disorders. This therapy focuses on improving behavioral skills as well as motor skills. Today, getting information about Applied Behavior Analysis therapy and getting in touch with ABA therapists online is relatively easy.
Applied Behavior Analysis is a therapy type that keeps learning and reshaping behavior at its center through the help of positive reinforcement. Its techniques draw from the theory of behaviorism, first proposed by John B. Watson in the early 20th century. Behaviorism is a school of thought that believes an individual's behavior is affected by various external stimuli, such as environmental and social factors, and the said behavior can change after a close analysis. Operant and Classical conditioning are two primary techniques talked about in behaviorism. It stresses that the consequences of action heavily influence behavior, and rewards and punishments have an equal impact on future behavior as the environment.
Ole Ivar Lovaas first introduced this treatment approach in the 1960s. His objective was to enable autistic kids to lead normal lives (defined through socially acceptable behaviors). Before that, there was no definitive treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Most professionals and institutions at the time believed that it was nearly impossible to teach children with autism to lead a self-sufficient life, which led children/patients to be often subjected to insufferable conditions due to their symptoms.
Today's ABA therapy centralizes teaching and improving behaviors. These behaviors can be as distinct as brushing teeth, simple household activities, punctuality, or as refined as academic or social skills and communication.
Lovaas' theory of this modality, which he created based on behaviorist theories, had three primary goals:
Lovaas established these goals by breaking basic life skills down into simple steps and encouraged each step with positive reinforcement. For instance, brushing their teeth might seem overwhelming for an individual with a learning disability. In that case, the most productive approach would be to break each step of the entire process and encourage the individual to approach the task one step at a time. The first step could be to acquaint a child with brushing their teeth by teaching them to squeeze out the toothpaste on their toothbrush on their own. Upon successful accomplishment, encouragement in the form of verbal reward, like, 'Good job!' can help them to move to the next step. The vital aspect of the technique is to implement regular analysis of their behavior and pay close attention to factors influencing them (both positive and negative). Gentle guidance through each step can significantly help the child to build the capability to string each step and complete the complex task of brushing their teeth.
ABA therapists apply various Applied-Behavior techniques to reach a specific goal, depending on the concerns and symptoms of the patients. These techniques include:
The very first interpretation of ABA, this technique focuses on breaking down particular skills into more simple tasks. A professional guides a child to practice every step several times until they fully grasp the task. When the child perfectly completes a task, they get a reward, like candy or a toy, or even verbal encouragement. And if they fail to respond correctly, the therapist gently prompts them to try again or use a different approach.
EIBI functions on the theory that it is possible to teach specific skills in a systematic order, which can help children with autism to acquire new skills and behavior. Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention therapy focuses on evaluating the child's current skills and challenges and creating a personalized strategy. The strategy can have changes and advancement along the child's development journey.
ESDM is one of the more recent techniques in this treatment. It focuses on teaching multiple skills incorporated as a single activity, as opposed to DDT, which focuses on a single task. The technique is usually implemented in a play set to teach a child basic skills effectively.
Natural Environment Teaching is a method that incorporates the child's surroundings into teaching, developing, and acquiring skills. The teachings are integrated into fun and playful activities that don't overwhelm the child. The therapist might use a familiar toy or games that the child enjoys, elevating the learner's inspiration.
Comprehensive ABA treats multiple developmental issues, such as cognitive, communicative, social, emotional, and adaptive functioning. The primary focus is eliminating dysfunctional or disruptive behaviors, such as disobedience, tantrums, etc.
As the name suggests, focused therapy targets one or two problem areas. It doesn't necessarily treat the symptoms of autism but prioritizes the child's concerns. Factors like age or cognitive ability do not restrict the application of Focused ABA.
ABA therapy has an individualized approach in itself. The methods and their uses are easily altered based on the child in concern. However, three major techniques form the core principle of this therapy. They include:
ABA is a widely researched and effectively proven therapeutic intervention for helping children or adults with ASD. The therapy type allows patients to do things in many ways. Examples include:
Applied Behavioral Analysis is considered the most effective treatment for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder or other neurodevelopmental conditions. This therapeutic modality is also implemented into the treatment plans, like:
Finding the right therapist to effectively assist you in navigating your hardships is the key. And with patients with any neurodevelopmental disorder, compassion is one of the most crucial aspects in finding the right therapist. Seeking a qualified mental health therapist doesn't have to be a taxing chore. With DocVita, you can easily access skilled therapists. And you get the freedom to choose a therapist that is the right fit for your concerns.
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