We believe that each person we serve is whole, complete and resourceful; they begin our programs with pre-existing motivation for learning strengths and skills that will provide the foundation for further personal growth. The opportunity to learn effective skills to cope, manage or navigate the challenges of ASD can begin at any age or stage of life, from early childhood into adulthood.
Our programs are grounded in the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), evidence-based (research-tested) practices with a commitment to producing measurable gains in academic, social, communication and life skills, demonstrating effectiveness in teaching, changing behaviour and supporting the growth and development of our clients and their families.
What is ABA: Applied Behaviour Analysis is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviours to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the improvement in behaviour. ABA is a discipline that employs objective data to drive decision-making about an individual’s program. That is, data is collected on responses made by the individual to determine if progress is being made or not; if there is no progress under a particular intervention, the program needs to be reevaluated and changed so that the child begins to make progress.
What can ABA be used for: The principles of ABA are applied to increase or decrease observable and socially significant behaviours. These behaviours include communication, social skills, academics, reading and adaptive living skills such as gross and fine motor skills, toileting, dressing, eating, personal self-care, domestic skills, and work skills.
How much ABA is enough: This commonly asked question has no single answer. Research supports, at a minimum, 25 hours per week of intensive behavioural intervention for young children diagnosed with autism for 12 months a year. The original Lovaas studies showed that approximately half the children were able to achieve typical development with, on average, 40 hours per week over at least 2 years. There is no single study that can inform a parent of the optimal number for their child. But, frankly, ABA, like breathing and eating, should be incorporated into a family’s lifestyle. This does not mean doing flashcards all day long, or sitting at a desk for every waking hour. It does mean that the family should learn ABA principles and how to apply them in the context of daily activities.
What is the role of the parent: Parents are indispensable in the child’s program. They play a necessary and critical role. Studies show that children whose parents are actively engaged in the process make measurable gains. First, no one knows the child better than the parent; the parent’s provide critical and insightful information that will help guide the ABA program. Second, parents are able to continue to prompt and reinforce the child through his and her various daily activities - an essential component to generalizing skills. Finally, parents are in a position to be able to record and track ABC data in the home and community setting. This information is vital in hypothesizing the function (the “why”) of specific behaviors as well as for determining what conditions encourage behaviours to occur.
For more information, visit www.appliedbehavioralstrategies.com