What ABA does for your child
While it’s a disciplined and well-researched system, ABA is not one-size-fits-all. Treatment is tailored to the individual child, family, and agreed-upon goals.
ABA looks for functional relationships between a child’s behaviors and his or her environment. The goal is to increase desirable behaviors that lead to quality of life, and reduce behaviors that interfere with your child’s ability to communicate and learn.
Treatment is organized around positive reinforcement
We all repeat behavior that produces a reward we value. This very simple, human inclination is central to ABA therapy.
Your child’s Acorn Board-Certified therapist identifies a goal behavior for your child. When your child displays the behavior we want to see, he or she receives something personally meaningful (and you’ll help us identify ideas).
We’ll also learn what precedes challenging behaviors
We call them “antecedents.” They’re things that happen immediately before the behavior we’re trying to change. An antecedent can be a request, like “clean up your room”; a feeling or reaction; a specific object; bright lights or a noisy crowd.
ABA therapy looks for these antecedents and finds alternatives that influence your child’s reaction.
We all respond to consequences. So they’re part of ABA to help promote positive behavioral change.
A consequence is what comes directly after a child’s specific behavior and it can be as simple as a lack of a reward, or no reaction if the behavior is inappropriate.
Our Board Certified Behavior Analysts conducts skills assessments to understand your child’s specific needs: his or her language development, practical life skills, ability to generalize learning, and more. We also conduct functional behavior assessments and analyses for children with challenging behaviors.
Custom Therapy Plan
With all this data, we draft a custom therapy plan and share our clinical recommendations with parents and caregivers. Therapy plans are developed only after we understand your family’s goals and preferences. We also openly collaborate with your child’s school and other therapists (for example, speech language pathologists or occupational therapists). Consistency and a team approach lead to optimal outcomes.
Acorn Health focuses first on the child’s activities of daily living. We begin with improving communication and social skills. Then, we address activities like mealtime challenges, and intensive toilet training. Where appropriate, we also develop vocational skills.
Family education and training is an integral part of each therapy plan. Consistency helps children acquire skills, then maintain and generalize the learning for new situations.
Children with challenging behaviors benefit from function-based behavior reduction plans. These plans often include eliminating triggers and providing opportunities for the child to demonstrate the replacement behavior.
We have protocols for managing these behaviors and functional alternatives (e.g., asking for a break rather than engaging in problem behavior to achieve that break). Here, too, collaboration matters. Consistency at home, school, and other environments creates lasting progress.