Autism – Applied Behavioral Analysis

Autism - Applied Behavioral Analysis

Applied Behavior Analysis

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is one of the most common treatments for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). However, ABA is used across many contexts, such as schools and businesses, to support positive change and growth. This type of treatment focuses on the interactions between an individual’s behavior, and how this behavior is impacted by the world around the person (i.e., the environment). ABA follows the philosophy that behaviors happen for a reason and allows an individual to survive and adapt given the skills they have at their disposal, within the context they live in each day. In ABA therapy, the relationship between behavior and the environment is analyzed in order to find effective ways to change the environment or teach skills that will help the individual behave more successfully within their environment. While ABA is well known to be evidence-based for use in the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders and is certainly recommended for this purpose, it is often misunderstood to only be useful as a treatment for Autism. ABA actually refers to a wide variety of treatment strategies, modalities, and methods in which behaviors are understood through an environmental context. Examples may include Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI), behavioral consultation, outpatient behavior therapy, functional communication training, pivotal response training, behavioral skills training, and social skills intervention. Applied Behavior Analysts work in many different contexts, including outpatient clinics, schools, and homes, to improve behaviors and performance. ABA can be helpful for most anyone. Examples of situations in which ABA is used outside of Autism treatment are in improving performance in businesses, increasing academic performance for typically and non-typically developing children, training athletes, self-improvement, health coaching, managing pain, improving sleep, improving eating, and integrated primary care, to name a few. Overall, ABA helps to increase helpful skills, and decrease unhelpful barriers and behaviors. At Monarch Behavioral Health we offer Applied Behavior Analysis therapy tailored to meet your individual needs.

Autism Spectrum Disorders

As parents, some of the most powerful and rewarding experiences are seeing our children achieving developmental milestones for the first time. We remember our child’s first words, first steps, and first smiles and cherish those moments. It can be frustrating and emotionally exhausting when our children are not hitting those developmental milestones on time, or at all. Delayed early milestones, especially milestones around communication, social skills, and behaviors, are often our first signs that a child may be impacted by an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). While a direct cause for Autism has not been identified, ASDs are understood to be groups of neurological disorders with a genetic basis, resulting in deficits in two core skill areas: 1) communication and reciprocal social interactions, and 2) restrictive or repetitive patterns of behavior. These deficits can show themselves through a variety of behaviors, such as reduced interest in making friends, difficulty sharing, lack of eye contact and nonverbal communication, reduced or delayed speech, repetitive movements or play, interest only in particular topics or toys, difficulty with transitioning between activities or dealing with change, or even dangerous or harmful behaviors. Autism affects 1 out of every 68 children, by estimate, and is 5 times more common in boys than girls. It is known as a “spectrum” disorder, because the specific strengths and difficulties of each child with Autism is different, and ranges significantly in the degree and severity of challenges. In fact, individuals with Autism also have a wide range of incredible strengths and talents. Autism and developmental delays can cause a wide range of behavioral, emotional and social disruptions. But there is great news! There are a variety of evidence-based treatments that are shown to be effective for people with ASDs, and at Monarch Behavioral Health we are able to provide these treatments in a way that is individualized to your child’s and family’s unique needs, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Applied Behavior Analysis, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Behavioral Skills Training, Family Training, Social Skills Interventions, and Functional Communication Training. We also offer therapeutic services for siblings, parents, and other loved ones to provide additional support in living and loving a family member with Autism. Research shows us that intervention strategies are the most effective early on in a child’s development, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for Autism. We are able to provide comprehensive psychological assessment in order to comprehensively test for, diagnose, and provide evidence-based treatment and educational recommendations for Autism and other developmental concerns.