ABA Therapy is a type of behavioral therapy that utilizes basic behavioral principles such as, positive reinforcement; prompting; shaping and generalization, that directly impacts the child’s development of language, socialization, and reduction of maladaptive behaviors. This methodology uses techniques such as discrete trial training and systematic data collection to guide treatment planning. ABA is a safe and well-researched evidence based approach to working with children. Many young children who receive early intensive behavior intervention are able to develop skills that allow them to independently participate in a mainstream school setting. Providing one therapy intensively, rather than multiple therapies less intensively ensures consistency across home and community settings. Families benefit from learning strategies for facilitating their child’s use of newly acquired skills as well as for reducing challenging behaviors.
Studies have shown that some children with autism who participated in intensive ABA Therapy programs showed significant improvements in IQ, language skills, and academic performance. Some children in these studies were able to move successfully to mainstream public school classes, where they can learn alongside typically developing peers. More importantly, every child can benefit from ABA Therapy interventions by learning new skills and reducing problem behaviors.
The organization Autism Speaks supports the use of ABA Therapy as a treatment for Autism. “Today, ABA Therapyis widely recognized as a safe and effective treatment for autism. It has been endorsed by a number of state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Surgeon General and the New York State Department of Health. Over the last decade, the nation has seen a particularly dramatic increase in the use of ABA Therapy to help persons with autism live happy and productive lives. In particular, ABA Therapy principles and techniques can foster basic skills such as looking, listening and imitating, as well as complex skills such as reading, conversing and understanding another person’s perspective. “ (http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment/applied-behavior-analysis-aba)