Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
What is ABA?
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an evidence-based practice that applies learning theory and behavioral principles to increase or decrease targeted skills and behaviors. In fact, ABA may be successfully used to assist your student with all kinds of skills throughout the day. For example, ABA will help a student increase language skills and/or self-help skills. ABA is also effective in decreasing aggression and self-injurious behaviors.
Although often thought of as a single intervention or a single plan, ABA is anything but. The ABA process begins with gathering information about student behavior and analyzing it. The summarized data is used to create a specifically tailored behavior plan. No two student plans are exactly the same. Behavior plans are unique in the skills to be focused on, in the behavioral strategies used and in the reward systems put into place. However, all behavior plans are written to impact the most socially and educationally relevant skills first.
Data collection continues to be important moving forward, too. The data lets us know what parts of the plan are helping your student make progress and what parts of the plan need to be altered to increase your student’s growth. Therefore, data is collected and graphed for review by team members. The routine review of such objective information is a key factor in helping your student to make effective progress.
Although effective for any student, ABA is widely recommended for use with students with autism, students with both Down syndrome and autism, and students with intellectual disabilities.
ABA at The Guild:
Your student becomes known to our large Behavior Management Department before your student’s entrance date is even reached. The Guild’s Behavior Clinicians carefully tailor a Behavior Support Plan based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) using background information, existing reports and assessments and a parent interview.
The Guild’s Behavior Support Plans incorporate many successful strategies. For some students, Discrete Trial Training (DTT) may be in the plan. But, there is no expectation that a single strategy will work for every student. The plans, which are customized for each student, are reviewed and approved by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).
Relevant staff from each department are trained on your student’s plan. Often, this happens before your student’s foot even crosses The Guild’s threshold. Other times, the training occurs during the first few days of enrollment. The overall goal is to help your student decrease maladaptive behaviors and replace them with behaviors that are appropriate at school, at home and during community activities.
Your student will be assigned to a particular Behavior Clinician who will then have the primary responsibility for ongoing data analysis, review and revision of your student’s plan; however, our multiple Behavior Clinicians and Behavior Specialists work together to ensure a knowledgeable staff member is always available to support your student and our staff whether they are in a classroom, in a residence, visiting home, on a community experience, at a school-sponsored activity, or out for a special event. Clinicians are also available to assist you in learning behavior strategies we are successfully using with your student. Implementing the same strategies at home often facilitates positive home visits and enjoyable family interactions.
Regardless of previous background or experience, The Guild’s new staff members are given intensive training in ABA during orientation. The training focuses on positive behavior supports and proactive strategies for facilitating excellent student behavior. Further education in behavior training is provided on an ongoing basis to day program and residential staff. Also, supplemental, weekly trainings on relevant topics are scheduled for Guild professionals from all disciplines.