Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
-From Autism Speaks
ABA is a therapy based on the science of learning and behavior that has been proven effective for children with behavior problems and those on the autism spectrum.
Behavior analysis helps us to understand:
How behavior works
How behavior is affected by the environment
How learning takes place
ABA therapy applies our understanding of how behavior works to real situations. The goal is to increase behaviors that are helpful and decrease behaviors that are harmful or affect learning.
ABA therapy programs can help:
Increase language and communication skills
Improve attention, focus, social skills, memory, and academics
Decrease problem behaviors
The methods of behavior analysis have been used and studied for decades. They have helped many kinds of learners gain different skills – from healthier lifestyles to learning a new language. Therapists have used ABA to help children with autism and related developmental disorders since the 1960s.
How ABA Works
ABA for Autism
What happens when I meet with an ABA therapist at TCA?
Good ABA programs are not "one size fits all." ABA should not be viewed as a canned set of drills. Rather, each program is written to meet the needs of the individual learner.
TCA's ABA program is completely virtual. We find this to be the best way to support all members who will be working with the patient. Your first meeting with our licensed ABA therapist will typically involve a care provider. During the 60 minute meeting, the therapist will gather information about the patient's behaviors and will discuss with everyone what their goals are (which behaviors they wish to change).
The therapist may spend the next few days gathering more information from others involved, such as teachers and program staff. She will then devise an individual treatment plan based on the information she gathered. This plan will recommend strategies to help the patient and care providers extinguish or minimize the maladaptive behaviors. Depending on the goals and complexity of the case, the therapist will set on-going meetings with the patient and care providers to advise them on these techniques and to help them track their progress.
Examples of treatment goals:
Communication and language
Self-care (such as showering and toileting)
Play and leisure
Learning and academic skills
Depending on age and ability, the therapist may also work with the patient via telehealth directly and/or provide parent training via telehealth to carry out the behavior plan, as well as learning how to collect data. Videos may also be utilized to collect data.
How does ABA therapy work?
Applied Behavior Analysis involves many techniques for understanding and changing behavior. ABA is a flexible treatment:
Can be adapted to meet the needs of each unique person
Provided in many different locations – at home, at school, and in the community
Teaches skills that are useful in everyday life
Can involve one-to-one teaching or group instruction
Positive reinforcement is one of the main strategies used in ABA. When a behavior is followed by something that is valued (a reward), a person is more likely to repeat that behavior. Over time, this encourages positive behavior change.
First, the therapist identifies a goal behavior. Each time the person uses the behavior or skill successfully, they get a reward. The reward is meaningful to the individual – examples include praise, a toy or book, watching a video, access to playground or other location, and more.
Positive rewards encourage the person to continue using the skill. Over time this leads to meaningful behavior change.
Does my insurance pay for ABA?
Some insurance carriers and plans will pay for ABA services with a licensed ABA therapist. Additionally, because our treatment also involves forms of individual and family therapies, we may also bill your insurance company under individual and family therapies. Copayments or deductibles may apply based on your plan. We will check with your insurance company and advise you of payment before your first meeting.
Licensed ABA Therapist
Jo-Ann Orluk has over 25 years of working with children. She specializes in ABA through telehealth, providing services to children with behavior problems, individuals on the autism spectrum, and those with developmental or neurological disorders.
Ms. Orluk has had over two decades of training and experience in human services. She was trained at Elms College, where she completed her Master of Science in Autism. She also completed a Graduate Degree Program in Intensive Special Needs, and attained her Applied Behavior Analyst License.