What behaviors does ABA seek to increase or decrease?
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) uses the principles of behavior for increasing and decreasing specific behaviors of social significance. Behaviors to increase or decrease are selected in collaboration with parents. Additionally, it is wise to involve other relevant stakeholders, like extended family or your child’s teacher.
When selecting ABA goals, it’s important to consider:
For challenging behavior, it’s crucial to consider how much is the behavior impacting the child’s functioning, learning, social opportunities, or ability to access the community. If parents cannot take a child to the store because of tantrums, it can impact a family significantly. (e.g., decreased access to social skills, difficulty completing common routines, or cost of childcare so the parent can go to the store). Similarly, if a child cannot communicate his or her wants or needs, this may cause problems for the family system as a whole.
It is important to consider the following points for increasing skills:
* What should the child be doing?
* How far outside of typical development is this behavior?
* Typically, what should a child this age be doing or expected to do?
* In what manner are these skills pivotal to future areas of development?
Small steps may lead to a larger goal
All goals should be prioritized based on some of the questions listed above. It is also essential to consider prerequisite skills and look at the larger picture. It may be that before you get to the big point of concern that there are other smaller goals to meet along the way. If your child cannot wait at home for five minutes, then waiting at a store for a toy may be more difficult. First, work on the smaller skills to build to the larger ones. With patience and practice, your child will be on their way to achieving their goals.
ABA therapy can be implemented in different environments, like home, our clinics, or in the classroom.