8 Facts You Don’t Know About ABA Therapy
Perhaps you’re just getting started on this journey with a newly diagnosed child with ASD. Your head is swirling with all of the different doctors, therapists, appointments, teachers at school, and all these abbreviations. While you are starting to finally get some answers, you most likely have a million more questions still.
To remind you, ABA stands for “Applied Behavioral Analysis.” It’s a specific type of therapy that has been around for at least 30 years with the data to prove it.
ABA is one of the primary interventions now used for young people with ASD worldwide and it’s what we use here at Bright Achievements.
Why is ABA so effective? Will the changes in behavior last only while a child is in therapy? How can a parent support ABA’s practices at home? Here are eight facts that will change your perspective on ABA and what it’s all about.
1. Most therapists will recommend between 30-40 hours of ABA practice per week.
Now before you turn away, expecting to have your child in the therapist’s office for multiple hours every day–this is not the case. While children may only spend 3-5 hours per week in the office, you can also start tallying up the hours spent: getting dressed, practicing basic hygiene, listening to and following directions, safety skills, play skills, etc. When you add up all of those hours, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you meet the 30 or 40-hour recommendation.
2. When a therapist suggests that the child may be ready to “fade out” of therapy, that does not mean you can remove therapy entirely all at once.
The routines and rhythms of therapy sessions make up part of your weekly schedule with your child. Now that they’ve grown accustomed to therapy, it’s best to reduce the time/frequency of the sessions slowly. If old or new undesired behaviors arise, it may be time to rethink if/when you can begin to fade out of your current number of therapy sessions.
3. ABA is built on positive reinforcements.
Your therapist will work with your child as an individual to understand what motivates them to learn and to behave well. Using that knowledge, your therapist will help your child build upon success after learning new skills/behaviors and receiving positive reinforcements repeatedly. While “no” is an okay (and frequently used) word in ABA, as children are apt to push the boundaries set for them, they will always have more positive reinforcements than negative.
4. Up to forty-five percent of Applied Behaviour Analysis therapy cases developed observable, long-lasting, and notable results.
ABA has been used since the 1950s and studied since the 1970s. The majority of studies have noted that those who undergo ABA therapy have significant, long-term behavioral changes throughout their life.
5. Each ABA therapy patient is on their own individualized plan.
Just like each child has individual preferences for positive reinforcement, they’ll also have different behaviors that need to be practiced and improved upon. Your child’s behavioral plan will be modified as the therapist recognizes what brings the most success and as your child ages and becomes more mature.
6. The most highly credentialed practitioners of ABA are called board-certified behavior analysts, or BCBAs. (Childmind.org)
This requires a master’s degree in a related field and has the individual complete 1,500 hours of fieldwork. You’ll want to be sure your child is receiving the very best care possible, and this certification is the only way you’ll know exactly how much training your therapist has undergone.
7. According to one study, up to ninety percent of children undergoing ABA therapy up to forty hours a week improved massively, with their improvements regarded to be life-changing to the child and the child’s parents.
This is precisely why we do what we do at Bright Achievements. We know that you want to see changes in your child’s behavior, and honestly, so do they. Your child never wants to misbehave or cause you undue stress. Being an instrumental part of this life-changing process is why we do what we do.
8. The therapist and the therapy sessions are not the most of this equation.
For your child to truly change their undesired behaviors and grow in their social/emotional skills, they need you as the parent to be completely serious about helping them achieve success. This means following any behavioral plans sent home and following up on boundaries/consequences, along with positive reinforcements the child receives at therapy sessions. Consistency is vital for seeing long-term changes.