Often, when a child with Autism is having difficulty learning new skills or engaging in problematic behaviors, people get caught up in thinking that something is “wrong” with the child. Sometimes, people will start making excuses for them – or even worse, blaming them.
A list of discouraging phrases we’ve heard include:
- It’s their autism.
- The child is lazy.
- They don’t care.
- They don’t pay attention.
- Their skills are too delayed.
- They are bad or mean.
Phrases like these are a very discouraging way to think and make it feel like solutions are beyond our grasp. The truth is, though – it is never the learner’s fault. In this blog, we’ll share ways to help your child with autism learn and grow!
Why Applied Behavior Analysis?
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is used to change behaviors, but we don’t do it by directly changing the child. No magic wand suddenly inspires the child with Autism to learn how to act differently on their own. Instead, we accomplish behavior change by looking at and modifying the environment surrounding the child.
We manipulate antecedent events to make behaviors more or less likely to happen in the first place. We do this by:
- Removing triggers
- Adding cues
- Adding prompts
- Altering consequence events to reinforce alternative or desirable behaviors to make them more likely to be repeated
- Removing rewards for problematic or maladaptive behaviors, decreasing the likelihood that they will repeat those behaviors
Do you feel like you are running in circles?
Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. If the child isn’t learning new skills or their problematic behaviors aren’t decreasing, we must try something else. Just because we have not found the right combination of environmental events to facilitate progress doesn’t mean the journey is over.
- There may be a different, better way to prompt the correct response.
- Maybe our reinforcer isn’t powerful enough.
- Maybe reinforcers for the problematic behaviors are still too great.
- The goal may be too difficult and needs to be broken down into smaller prerequisite skills.
- There may be some unknown variable impeding the child’s progress that we haven’t noted yet.
Parent and caregiver collaboration
Children are the most successful when the same expectations and contingencies are present across all settings. Parent and caregiver collaboration and participation in treatment are essential to the child’s overall success. Children may receive our ABA therapy services for 20-40 hours per week – and though this may seem like a lot, it represents only a fraction of their waking hours each week.
When we want our children to learn and grow, we must be willing to change and improve. Parents and caregivers are integral to the child’s environment, and their involvement is important to making meaningful and lasting progress.
ABA is not the same for every child
Trying to pigeonhole kids into a one-size-fits-all teaching approach will not be successful. That is what makes ABA different – and so much more valuable! At Circle City ABA, we assess each child and tailor their programs to fit their unique needs, strengths, and challenges. What works for one child isn’t necessarily going to work for another. Circle City ABA has locations in Indiana, Arizona, Iowa, Nebraska, and Georgia. Find a location near you!
Try, try, and try again!
If our approach isn’t working, we must keep working to find a better solution. We can’t give up. We must keep changing ourselves and how we teach, or we won’t get where we want to be. Our accurate and precise collection and analysis of data help guide the way down the path to success.
It’s all about that data.
Data tells us when something isn’t working – so we know when to change how we approach things. We have to figure out how that child learns and adjust ourselves to fit their needs. We have to hold ourselves accountable and responsible for their learning and progress. After all, it is never the learner’s fault.
Join Us for the Journey
Circle City ABA passionately nurtures progress through play with ABA therapy. We develop programs and services specifically designed for each child. We’ll work together to define success and help your child achieve it. Contact our admissions team for more information on our services and how we can support your child with Autism learn and grow.