Top Akron ABA Therapy Strategies
If your child has been diagnosed with autism in Northeast Ohio, you may have been referred for Akron ABA therapy services. ABA therapy (short for “Applied Behavior Analysis”) is considered the gold standard treatment for children with autism, and the earlier we start, the better the long-term outcomes.
ABA therapy is an established but still newer behavior science that is continually evolving and improving. While we don’t expect parents to know all the ins-and-outs, we do encourage parents to take some time to understand some of the basic terms and foundational techniques.
Positive & Negative Reinforcement
This is probably the most well-known pediatric ABA therapy strategy – and one of the most easily understood as it’s regularly employed by parents and teachers in other settings. The idea of reward for good behavior and consequences for poor behavior is fairly common way to teach kids which actions are expected and which are not.
Similar principles are used in ABA – except we typically don’t characterize behaviors as “good” or “bad.” They are either “expected” or “unexpected.” Expected behaviors are those understood to be effective when engaging others in society. Unexpected behaviors are not effective – and may even be harmful.
With Akron ABA therapy, positive reinforcement could be something as simple as eye contact, positive verbal affirmations, hugs, a favorite song, 2 minutes of screen time, etc. – anything we recognize the child values and wants to continue working for. “Negative” reinforcement isn’t necessarily “bad” – because again, this isn’t about “bad” behaviors. It’s about unexpected or unhelpful behaviors. So “negative” reinforcement could be something as simple as withholding eye contact or praise. It’s not so much looked at as a “punishment” as a denial of reward for unexpected behaviors.
Prompting & Fading
Prompting & fading is a technique we use in Akron ABA therapy that uses certain cues to help children understand what is expected of them. Prompts can be verbal, physical, visual, etc.
For instance, a physical prompt might involve guiding a child’s hands to complete a certain task. A verbal prompt might be using certain words or phrases to encourage a child’s engagement in a certain activity or completion in a certain task.
Fading prompts are when we slowly start scaling back on those prompts, allowing the child an opportunity to initiate or handle the remainder of the task on their own.
This can be an especially helpful tactic for visual learners. Video modeling as an Akron ABA therapy tool may involve showing them videos of social-emotional interactions that give them clues about how to interact with peers, how to appropriately express emotions, how to measure the “size of a problem,” and how to deal with big feelings.
Children with autism may have a tough time learning a new task. But by using a behavior chain technique, we can break up bigger tasks into smaller, more manageable ones. Akron ABA therapy pros will often combine this with prompts & fades until the child is able to initiate and complete the task on their own.
Individualized Approaches for Every Child
Ultimately, the right ABA therapy approaches for your child will be those that are tailored to their unique skills and goals – and may take some trial-and-error. Our Akron ABA therapy team at Therapy & Wellness Connection is committed to finding what helps each child thrive – and we’re here to answer your questions and discuss the evidence-based approaches and strategies we’ve found most effective.
Therapy & Wellness Connection – your connection to a life without limitations – provides speech therapy to children in Akron, Cleveland, Brecksville-Broadview Heights and surrounding communities. We also offer summer camp, day programs, education services, vocational counseling and more. Call us at (330) 748-4807 or send us an email.
What is Applied Behavior Analysis? Autism Speaks