Five Ways Applied Behavior Analysts Can Help Children with Autism

Benefits of Applied Behavior Analysis for Children with ASD

  • Structured Learning Environment
  • Early Intervention Services
  • Targeting Problematic Behaviors
  • Learning Essential Social Skills
  • Developing Physical and Motor Ability

Licensed and qualified applied behavior analysts are equipped to provide potentially life-changing services to children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). While the practical value of applied behavior analysis (ABA) isn’t limited to autism, it is widely recognized as a reliable, flexible and effective tool for behavior modification. Behavior analysts and therapists can help their patients overcome many of the challenges that face people who have a behavioral, social or cognitive disorder.

Structured Learning Environment

ABA therapy is defined by its structured and methodical approach. Analysts typically control every aspect of the environment during therapy sessions and often provide guidance for families on maintaining consistency at home. This structure and control allows therapists to focus on the needs of the child and isolate both triggers and consequences linked to behavioral issues. Careful reporting and analysis also provides professionals with a way to quantify progress, so they can measure and improve their patient’s development.

Early Intervention Services

Children and adults diagnosed with autism can reap numerous benefits from ABA therapy, but it can also be specialized to serve particularly young kids to establish a positive direction early on. In fact, research indicates that early intervention services for children up to the age of 36 months can greatly expedite acquisition of key skills, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ABA treatment can be beneficial for any child showing signs of slow language, cognitive or motor skill acquisition during early years of development, even if they haven’t been formally diagnosed.

Targeting Problematic Behaviors

Applied behavior analysts have another key advantage when helping children with autism: the ability to target specific behaviors. ABA therapy is highly flexible, so it can be customized to the specific needs of the patient. This means therapists can target as many, or as few, behaviors as necessary to achieve treatment goals. They can prioritize particularly dangerous or disruptive behaviors to ease the burden on family and caregivers.

Learning Essential Social Skills

Many people with ASD struggle to form and maintain social relationships with others, especially in potentially chaotic environments like a classroom or large gathering. Behavior analysts can apply the principles of operant conditioning and conversational therapy to help children adopt a healthy attitude towards social interactions. They also use these methods to discourage inappropriate behaviors that could limit the child’s ability to establish meaningful relationships.

Developing Physical and Motor Ability

Difficulty mastering fine motor skills, including those needed for essential life activities, is another potential symptom of autism and related disorders. ABA practitioners can help their patients overcome these obstacles by guiding them through a basic learning program that helps them develop these skills over time. Mastering physical and motor skills not only helps the child in their daily life, it can also make it easier for them to socialize and participate in various activities at school.

Related Resource: 10 Best Online ABA Master’s Degree Programs

Autism is a complex disorder that has different implications for each patient. While this does present a unique challenge for caregivers, applied behavior analysts have a wide range of tools and techniques that they can use to help children with autism overcome obstacles and improve their overall quality of life.