What is ABA and How Does Autism & Behavioral Consulting, LLC Use ABA?

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a scientific approach to changing behavior, to desired results. Behavior analysis explains new behaviors are learned, through reinforcement and punishment procedures. Positive reinforcement is most often used to increase a desired behavior and decrease negative behaviors. Previously ABA was simply referred to as behavior modification and many people associate it with Pavlov’s Dog. ABA is used to modify both human and animal behavior.

ABA first focuses on the function of the behavior, determining why the behavior occurs. Without first identifying the function of behavior through a hypothesis, an educated guess, the wrong intervention could be applied, thus making the negative behavior worse. Determining the function of the behavior is done by completing a function behavior assessment or analysis (FBA).

The best analogy for developing a FBA is going to the doctor. When you go to the doctors because you are sick, you give them the symptoms of your illness. You do not show up and say “fix me” without saying what symptoms you are experiencing. If this happened, the doctor could likely misdiagnose and give you the wrong treatment. Instead, when sick and at the doctor’s, specific symptoms are discussed for the doctor to make a differential diagnosis.

FBA’s work in the same way, first identifying why the behavior occurs, before treating the behaviors. If the why is not determined through data collection and observation, the wrong behavioral treatment plan could be designed and actually increase negative behaviors.
FBA’s focus on the antecedents (A) to the behavior, what occurs immediately before the behavior occurs. The behavior (B) is what the person exhibits. Only living organisms can emit observable behavior. The consequence of the behavior, or what happens immediately after the behavior occurs is also identified. Consequences (C) can be positive or negative, which ever immediately follows the behavior. These are often referred to as the “ABC’s” of behavior.

However, one must remember, behavior is not an exact science. This is why the function of the behavior is considered to be a hypothesis statement and can be updated based on data at any time. The same applies to behavior treatment plans and interventions, which can be updated based on a review of data. However, we truly believe if a client can learn a maladaptive/ negative behavior, they can learn a functional replacement and desired behavior.

Verbal Behavior (VB) is a form of ABA, which focuses on functional communication and began with B.F. Skinner’s book Verbal Behavior. Skinner and subsequent researches investigate the verbal operants or function of language. VB focuses on increasing functional language to decrease negative behaviors.

If learning is happening and a behavior is being observed, ABA is happening.

At Autism & Behavioral Consulting, LLC , ABA and VB programs are individualized to each client, no two are the same. Treatment plans are based on the findings of the functional behavior assessment/ analysis. Specific individualized programs are developed based on daily data collection, which is analyzed and graph to show trends.

If there are any questions on the procedures and processes Autism & Behavioral Consulting, LLC uses, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.

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