How Applied Behavior Analysis can Improve Social Skills
For parents who have a child with an autism spectrum disorder, public places can seem like scary places. Many parents of autistic children have learned to expect a series of glares and discouraging remarks when they take their young children out, as many children with autism have poorly developed social skills. The most commonly recommended treatment for children with an ASD, Applied Behavior Analysis has been proven time and time again to help children with autism develop social skills on par or close to those of children in their own peer groups.
ABA therapy utilizes a series of commands or requests to teach a child the appropriate response to a specific scenario. Because these children learn differently than other children they often have difficulty learning appropriate behaviors or the meaning of simple requests made of them. ABA works by teaching children the appropriate response to a situation and requiring them to mimic the response. Inappropriate responses are ignored, while correct responses are met with reinforcements such as candy, stickers, or even verbal praise. As the child learns these new behaviors, research shows that their brains are actually rewired, and that the process can literally teach the children to learn.
ABA therapy serves to prepare children for school by teaching them a large number of skills including intellectual thinking, verbal communication, conveying emotions, and social behavior. Intensive Applied Behavior Analysis therapy consisting of forty or more hours per week is shown to not only help a large percentage of children develop skills on par with their peers, but to provide them skills that keep them on par throughout life. ABA is not a cure for autism, as no known cure exists, but it can help all children reach their maximum potential and to function as highly as possible within the limits of their abilities.
In short, Applied Behavior Analysis helps children with autism spectrum disorders to develop a strong set of social skills that will help them in any setting. These skills translate not only into a school or public setting, but even into later life in workplace and business scenarios. The many skills built through ABA therapy are a testament to the continued success of the method and provide strong reason as to why it has been the preferred method of autism treatment for decades. Applied Behavior Analysis therapy has given hope and help to children and parents dealing with autism spectrum disorders for over 50 years and is still the leading treatment in the United States and the world.
Christy Butch is the mother of a 6 year old with autism and the founder of Maximum Potential. Maximum Potential has created DVD courses that enable parents and school systems to develop affordable and effective ABA programs, https://www.maximumpotentialkids.com