Diagnosis – What Happens Next?

What is ABA?

ABA stands for Applied Behavior Analysis and is an evidence based treatment that focuses on the improvement of social/emotional, communication, and adaptive skills.  In addition, ABA focuses on using positive behavior supports and other intervention strategies to reduce the rate of challenging problem behaviors.  The treatment package may include various interventions such as Functional Communication training (FCT), Natural Environment Teaching (NET), and Discrete Trial Training (DTT), in addition, ABA therapy focuses on the use of prompting, errorless teaching, reinforcement, and consequences to promote a positive learning environment and aide in the acquisition of new skills and the reduction of problem behavior .

What to expect?

After receiving an Autism Spectrum Diagnosis, your provider may refer your child for ABA therapy.  Once your referral is received, your provider will schedule you and your child for an initial assessment and interview.  A Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) or Licensed Assistant Behavior Analyst (LABA) will discuss your child’s strengths and areas of growth.  The supervisor will conduct a direct observation of your child’s skills and complete a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA).  The supervisor will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan that will be utilized by your ABA therapy team and will also contain specific goals and strategies that can be utilized by caregivers in your child’s life.  Caregiver involvement is an essential part of ABA therapy, caregiver involvement in ABA therapy is shown to increase skill acquisition towards your child’s goals and decrease selected problem behaviors.

Example ABA Therapy Goals

ABA therapy focuses on observable behavior that can be measured over time.  BCBAs and LABAs utilize data collected during your child’s ABA therapy to determine the function (why behavior occurs) of your child’s problem behaviors.  This information is then used to make environmental changes, teach new skills, and provide replacement behaviors to reduce problem behavior

Examples of ABA Therapy Goals
Communication:

  • Increase requesting skills
  • Increase ability to communicate more effectively with others
  • Requesting a break and/or help

Social/Emotional:

  • Identifying emotions in self and others
  • Increasing use of coping strategies
  • Increasing interest in peers

Adaptive:

  • Toilet Training
  • Dressing
  • Increasing on task behavior

Behavior:

  • Reducing self-injury/aggression/property destruction
  • Increase following directives
    Increase ability to wait

L.E.A.P.S strives to provide a positive therapeutic environment for each family and encourages parent involvement at all stages of ABA therapy.  “At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents” Jane Hill

Melissa Anderson, MA, BCBA, LBA