Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Applied Behavior Analysis Uses Reinforcement and Prompts to Facilitate Learning

Whenever most average people look at children with autism or are asked about the disease, it seems as though they think that these children are incapable of emotion or of learning the things that their peers learn. Unfortunately, an alarming number of school districts and educators seem to think this way as well. As the parent of an autistic child, you likely know better. In fact, most parents have also learned that ABA therapy is the most effective means of teaching behaviors, concepts, and actions to children with autism spectrum disorder. But what is ABA, and how does it work?

Applied Behavior Analysis is an incredible teaching program that allows parents or therapists to observe children and record every aspect of a certain behavior. The concept or behavior being taught is broken down into basic steps, which are taught using prompts and reinforcement to be effective. A child will be prompted to provide a certain answer or to exhibit a certain behavior, and the prompts will be given until the behavior is mimicked. As the child better learns to perform the behavior, the prompts will be slowly taken away until it can be done without them.

Reinforcement is another important part of ABA therapy, and it is just as crucial. While many children are able to learn from being scolded or corrected, for autistic children there is little differentiating between negative and positive attention. This means that instead they must be rewarded with attention only when the correct behavior or outcome is received. Instead of scolding or punishing for inappropriate behaviors, they are simply ignored and not met with attention. This helps the child to learn that in order to receive attention, positive behaviors must be exhibited, and it is an incredibly effective teaching tool.

ABA therapy is truly remarkable, and it is one of the only treatments for autism that most insurance companies will pay for. There is ample evidence to show the short and long term success of ABA therapy, and many children who receive intensive training at a very early age are able to display almost complete symptom reduction. There is still no cure for autism, and ABA therapy is not intended to cure the disease, but it can certainly help to reduce symptoms and enable many children to lead productive lives alongside their peers, which can certainly be a welcome change from the fears that many parents of these children deal with every day.

Garrett Butch is the father of a 6 year old with autism and the founder of Maximum Potential Group.

Maximum Potential has developed courses that train parents and school systems how to work with children with autism.


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Garrett_Butch

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