The intervention process of ABA is guided by the student's learning pattern and current level of functioning. Skills are targeted and then taught. As the child progresses through each program, assistance (prompting) is provided and systematically reduced (faded) until the child demonstrates independence. As simple skills are acquired (mastered), the child is then taught to combine them into more complex behaviours, and to use these skills in a variety of settings (generalization).
The child’s progress through the program is regularly documented. Data recording provides continuous records of the child’s progress, and enables precise “fine-tuning” of teaching procedures. The main goal of ABA is to give children with autism the prerequisites necessary to learn naturally from the environment, through explanation, modelling, and other appropriate cues available in the situation.
The core of ABA is that almost all recurring human behaviour is maintained by the events immediately following that behaviour. Skills are broken down into small steps and each step is taught using a combination of repetition and rewards. This can be broken down as follows:
Antecedent (what happens before) + Behaviour = Consequence (What happens afterward) or simply A + B = C
A = you need to cook dinner
B = you try a new recipe
C = your family is impressed and tells you how good it tastes
You are more likely to make this recipe again due to the praise than if they told you it tasted bad.
Transferring this to ABA to teach a skill might look like this:
A = Worker asks “What sound does a cow make?”
B = Child answers “moo”
C = Worker praises child and might give a reward such as a small piece of candy (reinforcer)
These rewards, or reinforcers, are removed (or “faded”) quickly; leaving only verbal praise delivered in the same way you would praise a typically developing child. The idea is that pairing the verbal with rewards like treats, trinkets and “high-fives” in the very beginning makes the verbal praise become motivating for the child.
Generally, ABA for children with ASD consists of a tremendous amount of structure with high concentrations of reinforcement while using specific teaching techniques. Data is collected so that we know when a skill is learned or mastered. The most important job of the parent in ABA is to learn to generalize these learned skills into your child’s everyday life.
What is the Definition of Behaviour?