The Autism And Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network reports that approximately 1 in 36 children in the U.S. is identified with autism. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA therapy) is specifically designed to assist these children in developing crucial social and emotional skills.
In this technological era, online ABA therapy stands out as an excellent choice, offering the necessary support while maintaining the child’s daily routine.
This article serves as a comprehensive guide to ABA therapy online, explaining its benefits for children on the autism spectrum and providing tips for maximizing its effectiveness.
Table of Contents
What is ABA Therapy?
ABA therapy is a treatment method emphasizing positive reinforcement to enhance behavioral, social, communication, and learning skills. ABA therapy is applicable in diverse environments like schools, hospitals, clinics, and homes, where a child engages one-on-one with a practitioner.
A quality ABA program incorporates seven key dimensions. Therefore, any ABA services your child receives should adhere to these essential characteristics:
Skills developed through treatment should be enduring and transferable across different people and settings, even after the treatment concludes. Consistency in staff during a child’s treatment is ideal, yet it’s also important for the child to practice these skills with various individuals and peers. A treatment’s effectiveness and success are measured by its ability to achieve generality, ensuring the child’s skills are broadly applicable and sustainable.
Goals ought to be aligned with the client’s needs and their community’s culture while ensuring the interventions employed are effective. This effectiveness can be assessed through regular monitoring of progress, data collection, and observation of the implemented interventions.
An intervention must be documented clearly and in detail, enabling anyone to replicate it accurately. If the intervention is not well-described or hard to comprehend, it reduces the likelihood of consistent implementation. A technically sound behavior intervention ensures high treatment integrity.
Behavior analysts are required to concentrate on the implementation principles of ABA that modify socially significant individual behaviors. These behaviors encompass skills essential for the individual to function effectively and successfully in their environment.
- Conceptually Systematic
The intervention should be grounded in research and have the principles of applied behavior analysis. This will ensure that all techniques employed align with principles proven effective in scientific research.
If the data indicates that a current intervention isn’t producing the desired behavioral change or improvement, it’s necessary to modify the approach. It is important to ensure that the adjustment leads to a notable increase in the desired behavior.
For behavior to be effectively altered, it must be both observable and measurable. Behavior Analysts aim to amplify certain behaviors while reducing others. Additionally, describing the change in behavior should focus on how it transforms the child’s life overall, not just their behavior.
How Does Online ABA Therapy Work?
ABA therapists employ various techniques. These are tailored to each individual, treatment setting, and specific behaviors. Here are some of the techniques that your therapist might employ:
- Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS): PECS utilizes pictures to practice communication and vocabulary skills, primarily with children. In this system, the child presents the therapist with a picture representing a desired object, and the therapist responds by giving the actual object. This method is continuously used to teach new words, phrases, and modifiers.
- Discrete Trial Training (DTT): DTT is applied in a one-on-one, controlled setting, where a skill is taught step by step. This method is repeatedly practiced until the desired behavior is expressed. DTT is effectively used by therapists to cultivate social and behavioral skills in individuals with autism.
- Focused ABA Therapy: This treatment approach concentrates on aiding an individual in particularly challenging situations or on enhancing specific skills they need to improve. Often involving one-on-one sessions with a therapist, it can also extend to practicing these skills in small group settings for broader application.
- Modeling: Modeling consists of showcasing the desired behavior. During online ABA therapy, the therapist might use video or audio examples to illustrate what is expected of the individual. This method is especially effective in fostering social and communication skills in children.
Is Online ABA Therapy Effective?
Autism Parenting Magazine (APM) reports that a significant number of respondents prefer ABA therapy. If you are considering this treatment, understanding the different stages of ABA therapy can assist you in fully utilizing its benefits:
At this stage, the therapist will inquire about your child’s strengths, abilities, and challenges. The therapist will observe their behavior, communication, and skills. Expect the therapist to recommend specific interventions tailored to your child’s needs and they may suggest incorporating certain strategies into your home life.
Based on observations from the initial consultation, the therapist will devise a formal therapy plan tailored to your child’s specific needs, encompassing clear treatment goals. This plan will outline particular strategies for caregivers, teachers, and therapists to implement in achieving these goals.
ABA therapy extends beyond sessions, relying on parents and caregivers to reinforce desired behaviors. This involves providing support and training to parents, caregivers, and family members. Therapists equip them with skills and strategies to uphold desirable behaviors in various settings like home, school, and the community.
Evaluation and Followups
Throughout therapy, the therapist may adjust their methods depending on your child’s response to various interventions. As therapy progresses, they will consistently monitor your child’s development. This also entails evaluating the effectiveness of strategies and determining where alternative treatment tactics may be beneficial.
Why Choose ABA Therapy Online?
In autistic children, disruptions in routine or schedule can hinder their progress and development. Online ABA therapy provides remote support for families, and it comes with several benefits:
- Better Supervision: It allows for additional supervision beyond the sessions. It enables the Behavioral Technician to observe your child’s behavior in their home environment. Spending more time one-on-one with a therapist facilitates better adaptation of your child’s therapy program to meet their specific needs.
- Flexible Scheduling: Online therapy simplifies scheduling and punctual attendance for appointments. If your child cannot attend sessions at a fixed time, video conferencing offers flexibility to fit therapy into their day.
- Family Engagement: It allows parents to be more involved in their child’s care, taking greater control of the therapy process. This increased involvement leads to improved outcomes for both children and their families, as treatment plans are more effectively modified and interventions occur more frequently.
- Comfort And Familiarity: This mode of therapy enables your child to stay in a known and comfortable setting, enhancing their engagement in the therapy. This familiar environment can help reduce anxiety and improve engagement during therapeutic sessions.