Understanding ABA Techniques
An evidence-based behavioral treatment for individuals with autism spectrum disorder is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA encourages desired behaviors and discourages undesired behaviors to improve a range of skills. ABA is used in many schools and treatment clinics. Two ABA teaching methods are:
• Discrete Trial Training (DTT): DTT was one of the first interventions created for autism. DDT uses step-by-step instructions to teach a desired behavior or response. Lessons are broken down into simple components and skills are taught one by one and repeated until the child learns. Desired answers and behaviors are rewarded, and undesired answers and behaviors are ignored.
An example would be a trainer teaching numbers to a child. The trainer would ask the child to point to a specific number and reward a correct answer. DTT is used to teach speech and language skills, writing, and daily living skills such as following instructions, dressing, etc. While it is often used with young children, DTT can also be effective with adults.
• Pivotal Response Training (PRT): PRT is a child and family-centered, play-based intervention that focuses on improving ‘pivotal skills’ that will help the child learn other social skills, increase motivation to learn, and self-manage behaviors. For example, initiating communication with others is a pivotal skill, so a child who asks for a toy would be rewarded with the toy. PRT is not as structured as DTT since sessions are initiated by the child. Positive reinforcement is used and the child is rewarded for effort, even if skills are not mastered immediately.
Parent education is a cornerstone of PRT, and parents are encouraged to use PRT techniques during the child’s daily routines and play. Sessions that are fun and interactive for the parent and the child can increase parental confidence and reduce stress.
The main goals of ABA are to increase language and communication skills, improve attention, memory and social skills, and decrease behaviors that are harmful or affect learning. It’s common for children with autism spectrum disorder to demonstrate challenging behaviors, such as acting out in socially unacceptable ways, aggressiveness, refusing or ignoring requests, or hurting oneself or others. ABA is designed to address the child’s individual needs, and help them work on skills to become more independent and successful socially and academically.
Harsha Autism Centers provide ongoing care for children, adolescents, and young adults (ages 2-22) with autism to improve the quality of their lives. If you would like learn more about how Harsha Autism Centers can help please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (812) 233-8833.