Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an evidence-based practice that applies learning theory and behavioral principles to increase or decrease targeted skills and behaviors. Although effective for any student, ABA is widely recommended for use with students with intellectual disabilities, atism, or both Down syndrome and autism.
What is ABA
ABA is used to assist students with all types of skills throughout the day. For example, ABA can help a student increase language skills and/or self-help skills. ABA is also effective in decreasing aggression and self-injurious behaviors.
The ABA process begins with the collection and analysis of information about student behavior. The data is used to create a specially customized behavior plan for each student. Behavior plans are unique regarding skills focus, behavioral strategies and reward systems. However, all behavior plans are developed to impact the most socially and educationally relevant skills first.
Data collection continues to be important moving forward, too. The data indicates which parts of the plan are helping students make progress and which parts need to be altered. The routine review of such objective information is a key factor in helping each student advance.
ABA at The Guild
The Guild’s behavior clinicians create a Behavior Support Plan for all incoming students based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), using background information, existing reports and assessments, and a parent/guardian interview. The plans are reviewed and approved by a board-certified behavior analyst.
Behavior Support Plans incorporate many successful strategies. For some students, Discrete Trial Training (DTT) may be included, but there is no expectation that a single strategy will work for every student. The overall goal is to help each student decrease maladaptive behaviors and replace them with behaviors that are appropriate at school, at home and in the community.
While relevant staff are familiar with each student’s plan, every student is assigned a behavior clinician who is responsible for ongoing data analysis, review and revision of the plan. Clinicians are also available to assist parents/guardians in learning successful behavior strategies in use at The Guild so they may implement the same strategies at home to facilitate positive visits and enjoyable family interactions.
New Guild staff members receive intensive training in ABA during their pre-service orientation. The training focuses on positive behavior supports and proactive strategies for promoting positive student behavior. Further education in behavior training is provided on an ongoing basis.