What is an Applied Behavior Analysis Program?
An Applied Behavior Analysis program is an individualized program that is created by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst to target skill areas to increase and behavior concerns to decrease. Typical skill areas that are targeted for increase include:
- Social behavior
- Play behavior
- Visual perceptual skills
- Imitation skills
Behavior concerns to decrease include:
- Physical aggression
In an Applied Behavior Analysis program, the child’s environment is manipulated to set them up for success and to help allow for several opportunities of practicing new skills and appropriate behavior.
What Does an Applied Behavior Analysis Session Look Like?
A typical Applied Behavior Analysis session usually lasts between 1.5 to 3 hours. ABA sessions are data-driven and progress is based around the use of reinforcing items. Children learn to follow adult directions/expectations by earning what is reinforcing to them. Sessions are developed specifically to meet a child’s individual needs. The behavior therapist is the person who implements the sessions under the guidance of a BCBA. The behavior therapist’s role is to engage kids while teaching them necessary skills and how to engage in appropriate behavior. Programming and skills are broken down into manageable teaching moments to help ensure child success!
What is the Analysts Role?
Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA’s) are responsible for assessing the child’s skill level and behavior functioning. From several different avenues of data, the analyst creates an individualized curriculum that will best allow for that specific child’s success. Once services start, the analyst is responsible for continuing to analyze data, adjust programs as needed to ensure progress is being made, continue communication with the family (including progress reports and re-evaluations), and ensure the behavior therapists are supervised and supported to ensure the most successful sessions possible.
What is the Behavior Therapist Role?
Behavior therapists work under BCBAs and are responsible for implementing the specific programming and behavior plans with a child. Behavior therapists complete a rigorous training program to ensure they are confident in the implementation of skill acquisition programs and behavior plans. Behavior therapists are able to see clients in homes, schools, and in the clinic to ensure that progress is being made across settings.
Why are so Many Hours Recommended?
The BCBA will generally recommend between 10 to 40 hours per week of ABA therapy. When babies, infants, toddlers and children are developing, they are constantly learning from the environment around them at every moment of their day. In order to help teach kids who may not be naturally learning from their environment, we as ABA providers, explicitly teach the skills that are not being learned naturally (i.e. expressive and receptive language, social skills, daily living skills, etc). As with any skill, the more practice, the faster you learn, the better you learn, and the more fluent you become at a skill. Typically, the best and fastest progress has a direct correlation with the amount of ABA hours he or she is engaged in.