ABA in Schools
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To improve access to quality Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) treatment and support in the home and in the community for children, youth and adults with autism.
A spectrum of neuropsychiatric disorders characterized by deficits in social interaction and communication, and unusual and repetitive behavior. Some, but not all, people with autism are non-verbal.
Autism is normally diagnosed before age six and may be diagnosed in infancy in some cases. The degree of autism varies from mild to severe in different children.
The cause (or causes) of autism are not yet fully understood. However, it is believed that at least some cases involve an inherited or acquired genetic defect. Researchers have proposed that the immune-system, metabolic, and environmental factors may play an important part as well.
Applied Behavioral Analysis
ABA is widely accepted to be the most effective evidence-based therapeutic approach developed to date for children with autism. The structured teaching of functional skills (often called behavioral intervention) presently has the largest body of published research supporting its effectiveness.
ABA is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the improvement in behavior.
"Socially significant behaviors" include reading, academics, social skills, communication, and adaptive living skills. Adaptive living skills include gross and fine motor skills, eating and food preparation, toileting, dressing, personal self-care, domestic skills, time and punctuality, money and value, home and community orientation, and work skills.
ABA methods are used to support persons with autism in at least six ways:
- to increase desirable behaviors (eg reinforcement procedures increase on-task behavior, or social interactions);
- to teach new skills (eg, systematic instruction and reinforcement procedures teach functional life skills, communication skills, or social skills);
- to maintain behaviors (eg, teaching self control and self-monitoring procedures to maintain and generalize job-related social skills);
- to generalize or to transfer behavior from one situation or response to another (eg, from completing assignments in the resource room to performing as well in the mainstream classroom);
- to restrict or narrow conditions under which interfering behaviors occur (eg, modifying the learning environment); and
- to reduce interfering behaviors (eg, self injury or stereotypy).
Why the ABA Support Network Exists
The ABA Support Network holds monthly meetings in order to provide education about ABA topics and give support to families dealing with autism and running home-based ABA programs.
Presently, accessibility to ABA treatment and support in schools, preschools, day camps, overnight camps, respite and in homes can be extremely limited due to lack of finances, lack of available consultants, lack of therapists, lack of awareness of benefits of ABA for autistic children and adults, and a lack of structure that supports ABA in the community.
The ABA Support Network will work in a collaborative manner with its members and with existing government administrators, school personnel, Community Living boards, and any other people who may be able to help improve services and inclusion for ABA children and adults. All actions taken by the the ABA Support Network executive will be mandated by membership through meetings, surveys and input from the website.
In the past 15 years a great deal of progress has been made towards getting funding and improving services in schools and in the homes. There is a great deal that can be done to not only hasten improvements to accessibility, but to ensure that accessibility is well planned and of high quality.
The goals of this website are to provide information to families, and to serve as a forum for families to share information and network with others in the ABA community.
The website is a work in progress, and we invite the community to participate in its growth. Members will be invited to help answer FAQ’s, submit articles and share ideas for new pages.