WHAT IS ABA?
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a natural science that is based on the principles of learning and behavior – behaviorism. ABA analysis the functional relations between environment and behavior and determines why does certain behavior occur and how to modify it.
In the ABA approach it is not important what does a behavior look like but why does it occur. Diligently collected data show us in which situations does the behavior appear and give us a clear message which skills this child doesn´t have and we need to teach them. The learning in ABA is highly structured which should not mean it is boring! Our goal is to make the learning so much fun it is motivating for the child.
Thanks to the ABA methodology the children are acquiring new skills that are replacing challenging behaviors. We work on daily living skills as well as communication and social interaction. The ABA methods are very elaborated and each child has a highly individualized program.
The basic principle of our work is an unconditionally good relationship between a therapist and a child. Only then can we make real changes in our children´s lives.
Even though ABA can appear to be a new method in Europe, in reality it has over 60 years of research behind it. The key publication Verbal Behavior by the „founder“ of ABA – B.F.Skinner was published in the 50th. In the 60th O.I.Lovaas with his team at the California University applied his teachings in the field of autism and created the first intensive intervention for children with autism known as the „Lovaas program“.
However, the well-deserved attention didn´t come until the late 90s when Sundberg´s VB Mapp was published. The VB Mapp serves as a tool for creating individual behavior plans and is also used for intervention programs in our center.
ABA means sitting at a table
Parents and some experts often imagine that ABA only consists of the intensive work at a table. However, that is only one of many aspects of our work. An effective learning has to be applied in a natural setting and the ratio of intensive and natural environment teaching depends on the individual students and their goals.
ABA cures the child for autism
There is currently no method or a drug that would cure autism and everyone promising you an easy and miraculous solution is lying. The research has shown that ABA can improve the quality of life of children with ASD significantly in many ways.
ABA is unnatural
A good analyst can create such a program that the learning happens in the most natural way. Part of the teaching happens intensively outside of the natural setting because in this way it is easier for the child to acquire a new skill. To incorporate the skill into the real life we need to use a natural environment teaching that is equally important.
ABA uses punishment
One of the reasons ABA can have a controversial reputation is a rather unfortunate
terminology. While the word punishment in a common language has a strong negative connotation, in behavior analysis it is simply any consequence of a behavior that causes the decrease of the behavior in long term. A punishment in behavior sense can be a reprimand as well as for example a piece of chocolate. A well-done analytic intervention uses mostly positive motivation.
ABA is only for children with autism.
ABA is a science of behavior and it´s principles can be applied with all living organisms. It is used with children with special needs as well as for example with managers or in animals training. Autism is only one of many applications of this science.