ABA Therapy and Individualization | What You Need to Know
There are many questions and queries family members have when opting for ABA therapy Chicago for their child. They question whether ABA therapy is the right choice for their children and if it will actually work.
This article will guide such parents all about ABA therapy, and how it is individualized in order to ensure how each child receiving the therapy will get the highest quality care out there, tailored especially to their needs and preferences.
What is ABA therapy?
Applied behavioral analysis (ABA) is a common and gold standard therapy that is designed to particularly improve an individual’s social, communication, and learning skills.
This type of therapy is used especially for children who lack these skills and suffer from autism. Moreover, ABA therapy does this through the use of positive reinforcement.
Behavioral therapies have been recommended by numerous experts around the world, and think of it as an ideal treatment for children with autism, or various developmental conditions or disorders.
ABA therapy’s main objectives are to teach an individual a set of new skills, reduce behavior that is problematic, and aim for the betterment of the academic, vocational, and social life of children.
Through this therapy, certain destructive behaviors are also well-defined and targeted for a permanent elimination to avoid repetition of such behaviors. Furthermore, replacement skills are taught and retained in this therapy with the help of ABA therapists.
In simple words, ABA therapists help to significantly improve the quality of life of an individual, and also that of the people closest to them (particularly family members). All of this is done using an individually planned approach.
Why Individualization in ABA Therapy is Important?
Each individual is different and unique, which is why each ABA therapy program is and should be, tailored to each person’s needs and preferences.
An individualized therapy program significantly increases its success by treating children based on their own unique abilities and backgrounds. Each child has different learning styles, intellectual strengths, the pace of learning, as well as distinct social and cultural backgrounds.
Thus, if these differences are ignored, children will be refrained from reaching their potential, that too in a learning environment. The outcomes, moreover, of the therapy program will also not be as desirable, when compared to a therapy program that was individualized and tailored to each child’s own uniqueness. Thus, the ABA therapy will not be as effective if individualization is not taken into consideration.
How Therapists Individualize Their Therapy Plans?
ABA therapists use different techniques to practice individualization in their therapies.
Firstly, therapists take the interests and preferences of each specific child into great consideration. They do this by keeping the child’s parents part of the therapy program from start to end. Therapists develop ways to make these interests and preferences a part of the whole ABA therapy program.
Also, ABA therapists study the values, as well as social and cultural values, of the family of the child, and also consider their concerns regarding the whole therapy program. For this, they keep each family’s cultural values, beliefs, and mindsets in mind to develop a treatment plan that is tailored and personalized according to the needs of each family.
In addition to that, several validated clinical procedures are used by ABA therapists. This is done by exploring the child’s skill shortage, which can include various communication skills, motor skills, and so on. Progress will be continuously monitored with other therapists who are part of the program as well.
Thus, there will be a collaboration between the child’s family members and other therapists who are part of the therapy program.
How is a Child’s Autism Treatment Plan Individualized?
The individual’s behavior is the prime focus of ABA therapy programs. This includes intervention development, execution, as well as monitoring of the patient. This is important as each person has their own needs, strengths, weaknesses, histories of learning, unique biology, as well as their own special environment in which they usually spend time. Thus, all these factors should be individualized, and are the primary basis of every ABA therapy.
Autism, however, is a common spectrum disorder. This means there will be a lot of differences in each person’s characteristics and personality. If there are numerous children who have Autism, it isn’t for sure that all the children lack the same type of skills, or have the same areas of improvement.
A good example of how one specific goal might not be clinically appropriate for two children is teaching communication skills to a child who particularly lacks skills in that area.
This might not be the primary goal of the therapy for the other child who lacks this skill. If both these children are given the same treatment and therapy plan, the therapy would not be as effective. This is because one child lacks communication skills, while the other child might be lacking somewhere else.
Therefore, it would be more appropriate to teach each individual child the skills they need, which is why the therapy is highly individualized and tailored to each child. Moreover, therapists target different curricular areas in the child where they lack skills. According to a Physical therapy Dallas consultant, “A particular goal will never be appropriate for two or more different types of individuals.”
It is also important to note that individualization takes a person’s strengths and skills lacking into great consideration. Each child has their own strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, by learning each child’s strengths and weaknesses, the therapy would be much more effective. Thus, through this, the child will be able to build strengths and also work on areas of skill deficit.
Therefore, individualization is the core of every ABA therapy program, and it never thinks of fitting every individual in one size. Without individualization, ABA therapy would not have been as effective as it is in treating various kinds of disorders.