Applied behavior analysis and autism go hand in hand. In fact, ABS is one of the most common treatments used for autism. On this page, we are going to look at what this treatment involves, as well as discuss a little bit about whether it is recommended.
What is Applied Behavior Analysis?
Applied behavior analysis is not just limited to autism. It is a huge area of psychology which can help with a number of cognitive conditions.
Applied behavioral analysis looks at the way in which a person learns. For example, positive reinforcement. In this case, a person would perform a ‘required’ behavior. When they perform it, they are given a small reward. If this happens, they are more likely to perform that behavior in the future. At the start, it would be for a reward, but it would eventually be drilled into them to the point where that reward is no longer required.
How does this relate to autism?
Applied Behavior Analysis has been used with children who suffer from autism since the 1960s. The therapist will normally provide information to the parent on how they can incorporate positive behaviors into their child’s day to day life. In fact, many of the techniques introduced by ABS therapists can be applied to any structured environment. There are many teachers out there who regularly use ABS techniques, particularly if there are a number of autistic children in the class.
One of the major benefits of Applied Behavioral Analysis is the fact that it is highly adaptable. There is no child out there with autism who suffers from the same symptoms as another child with autism. It is a very ‘individual’ condition. Applied Behavioral Analysis looks at the child, not the condition. A therapist will be able to look at the undesired behaviors in that child and provide advice on how they can be changed.
Unlike other ‘treatments’ for autism, this one has a plethora of research which backs it. Obviously, it is not going to cure the autism. However, it can make life a little bit more bearable for the child. It can also make life easier for those parents who have to deal with the child. It does take a lot of effort, but you can shape most behaviors using this technique.
Does Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism go together?
Yes. It does. There have been copious amounts of research which proves that applied behavior analysis can work on a child. However, it does need to be carried out in the correct manner. This means working with a qualified therapist. These can be tough to find in some areas. Perhaps the only real concern with ABS is that it can cause robotic behaviors. This is all down to the way in which the ‘correct’ behaviors are drilled into the person suffering from autism. This means that it can make it difficult for a child to think independently. That being said, these behaviors do tend to disappear later in a child’s life as they become more ‘familiar’ with the correct behavior and begin to socialize more.