What Is Applied Behavior Analysis?
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an approach to understanding behavior and how it is affected by the child’s environment. Every student at futures has individual plans and goals targeting skills that foster daily living activities. These goals are developed based on standardized assessments, direct clinical observation and collaborations with family. These skills include discrete trial training, task analysis and incidental teaching.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. With the May 2013 publication of the DSM5 diagnostic manual, all autism disorders were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD. Previously, they were recognized as distinct subtypes, including autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDDNOS) and Asperger syndrome.
ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Some persons with ASD excel in visual skills, music, math and art. Autism appears to have its roots in very early brain development. However, the most obvious signs of autism and symptoms of autism tend to emerge between 2 and 3 years of age. Autism Speaks continues to fund research on effective methods for earlier diagnosis, as early intervention with proven behavioral therapies can improve outcomes.
Increasing autism awareness is a key aspect of this work and one in which our families and volunteers play an invaluable role.