Applied Behavioral Analysis

“The process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree.”

BCBA’s (Board Certified Behavioral Analysts) use objective data to drive the decision-making about an individual’s therapy program. Applicable to any behavioral issue or deficit, ABA principles can be used to increase or decrease certain behaviors to help the individual adapt to social situations. ABA can address a broad range of socially significant behaviors, from communication skills, social interaction and academics to gross and fine motor skill development, toileting, dressing, eating, personal self-care, domestic skills and work skills.

Families are a vital part of ABA therapy at Janey Macey and Associates.  It’s important that parents and caregivers fully understand their child’s treatment plan in order for it to be carried out at home.  Families are always welcomed into the session and encouraged to be an active participant during therapy.  The family’s involvement ensures continuity of care across all settings.
One of the advantages of receiving ABA therapy at Janey Macey and Associates is that we also offer speech therapy and occupational therapy.   If these therapies are needed, your child will be served by a multi-disciplinary team.  We consistently communicate the child’s progress and assist with addressing similar goals.  If the need arises, we have the option of co-treating.
Here are some of the behaviors that can be addressed through ABA therapy. If your child is using gestures or leading you around the house to show you what they want, as opposed to verbally engaging you, they may need help with the following behaviors:

  • Requesting items (manding)
  • Labeling items (tacting)
  • Responding to verbal requests and/or demands (listener responding)
  • Imitating motor movements (motor initiation)
  • Repeating words and phrases (echoics)
  • Completing strings of sentences (i.e. “Mary had a little ___”) (intraverbals)
  • Verbal initiation (getting a listener’s attention in an age reference manner)

Additional warning behaviors may include:

  • Failure to comply with requests from another person
  • Failure to acknowledge others when spoken to.
  • Failure to perceive social rules (i.e. waiting in line, when to enter a conversation,  etc.)
  • Failure to express emotions in an age-appropriate manner
  • Failure or refusal to establish and maintain eye-contact
  • Engaging in self-play when in a group of peers
  • Does not have many friends
  • Extensive knowledge and conversation on one topic or subject
  • Difficulty distinguishing between reality and fantasy
  • Eating a very small variety of foods
  • Only wearing certain clothing items or fabrics
  • Does not like to be touched
  • Staring off into space excessively
  • Spinning or twirling excessively
  • Repeating lines from movies or video games at inappropriate times
  • Exhibits problem behaviors when his or her schedule is altered
  • Exhibits problem behaviors when he or she has to make a transition
  • Engaging in any of the following behaviors to escape from completing a task:
  • Hitting
  • Kicking
  • Screaming
  • Whining
  • Self-injurious behavior (biting, kicking, pinching themselves)
  1. Because there is more scientific evidence demonstrating that ABA therapy works than there is for any other intervention or treatment for Autism.
  2. Because they are human – the pendulum of public perception towards Autism used to be firmly set in the direction of mentally retarded, incapable of learning, and hopeless. Now, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction, with many viewing Autism as “no big deal”, and labeling the autistic as a little unique, or socially awkward. Neither assumption is accurate or respectful of the vast and varied ways that Autism can present in children, and how Autism impacts the life of the whole family.
  3. Because it will equip you as their parents – Normal parenting strategies may not be effective when dealing with children with Autism. Many ABA strategies might seen counterintuitive or illogical, but they serve to improve the behaviors and habits of the child.
  4. Because it will help the child learn to sleep through the night and use the bathroom – The skills that parents learn from active ABA involvement can generalize to countless other important skills. Parents learn to shape behavior, create interventions, and assess the best methods to help your child towards positive behaviors.
  5. Because it is the best defense against the tyranny of low expectations – low expectations can be met at school, other professionals and even family. Unfortunately, opinions that a child with autism will never talk, never stop engaging in aggressive behavior, never improve. Low expectations robs children of the bright future they could achieve, and does a great disservice to the child and the supporting family.
  6. Because it can teach them the skills necessary to build friendships – while basic life skills are important, so are social skills like smiling at peers, playing with toys, having sleepovers, etc. Everyone deserves companionship and friendship.
  7. Because it enables parents and teachers to capitalize on the child’s strengths and preferences – by identifying what motivates and inspires your child, you find the keys to encouraging positive behaviors and turning deficits into strengths.
  8. Because it teaches parents how to respond in the moment – therapists only get a few hours a week with clients, but the parents must spend 24/7 generalizing skills, implementing strategies, and offering consistency. Quality ABA programs teach parents what to do when the therapists and supervisors have to wave goodbye after each session.
  9. Because one day, they will have to survive on their own – over time, parents modify the environment to make things easier for their children, and this natural process of parenting becomes heightened when the child has special needs. But eventually, the child will grow up and become an adult who must interact with society. The long-term benefits of ABA therapy should be behavior changes that can allow independence.
  10. Because individuals with Autism should be prepared to be their own best advocates – by teaching children to appropriately stand up for what they want and need, and decline what they don’t want. Self-advocacy gives power to children with Autism – how often do individuals with disabilities get to feel powerful?