What is ABA?
Applied Behaviour Analysis, or ABA is the science of human behaviour. It looks at why we all (not just our children) interact and respond to our environment. ABA has more than 40 years of research and continues to evolve and expand as new research is conducted in real-life applied settings. Using the principles of ABA can help us understand what is causing and maintaining behaviours and how we can adjust the environment to facilitate skill development and positive behaviours. The goal of ABA is to improve socially significant behaviours so that the individual can live a valued life, as independently as possible.
You may be surprised that many of the strategies that you use with your child are actually using the principles of ABA. Some strategies and programs that you may be familiar with or already using include:
PECS – Picture Exchange Communication System
Using “First… Then…”
Helping your child to complete a task then giving them hugs, tickles and praise (which they love).
Shaping your child’s language e.g. giving them a bottle when they say “b…b…b”, then when they say “boh-boh”, then when they say “bot-bot”, then when they say “bottle”.
Fading out the help you give your child so they eventually do the task all on their own.
Our way of ABA
Emu Ed believes strongly in teaching through play-based, naturalistic and engaging settings to support children's learning. We also know (based on the research) that there are times when children learn best from a structured and predictable environment. So, we personalize therapy for each individual. At Emu Ed we use the principles of ABA to provide positive behaviour support services and improve the lives of the individuals we work with. Emu Ed is committed to continual growth as new research in ABA and other fields develops. We feel strongly about embedding trauma-informed, compassionate care throughout services and support emotional awareness and self-regulation. The work we do is under the guide of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) of which has a strong ethics code that practitioners are held accountable to.
History of ABA
Over the years ABA has been used in the therapeutic settings in various ways. ABA was founded in the 1960's and has evolved over the years. While the goal of ABA is to improve socially significant behaviours to improve the lives of the individuals we work with, Emu Ed acknowledges that historically the use of some practices has not been applied ethically and has led to individuals experiencing trauma. Many practitioners in the field of ABA strive to do better and ensure individuals who identify as neurodivergent experience greater choice and control. Unfortunately despite the evolution of our science and practices the negative perceptions linger.
Know that Emu Ed is committed to the "do better" movement by using ethical, trauma informed and compassionate care for every child and family we support. This is supported in the Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts.
Data drives decisions
The use of data is a strong element of ABA. There are times when our desire for something to work gets in the way of what is really happening. It is important that we look objectively at the impact therapy is having on our child. Having effective outcomes is important and we want to ensure that the strategies and techniques we are using are making a positive change for you and your child. Therefore, we use data to track progress and make adjustments to programs if the data shows that behaviour change is not occurring.