Applied Behavior Analysis – A Guiding Light for Behavior Managements and Positive Supports
What is behavior? As broad as that question is, simply put, it is the result when an organism interacts with its environment. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the science in which the principles of the analysis of behavior are applied systematically to improve socially significant behavior and in which experimentation is used to identify the variables responsible for change in behavior.
ABA is the foundation on which the program at Beacon Day School is built. ABA-based interventions are the cornerstone of educating students with autism and related disorders. It is ABA-based interventions which help to increase positive outcomes in learning, social skills building, generalization and adaptive behavior. ABA techniques are often used in the treatment of autism and related disorders, to improve the student’s ability to acquire and integrate knowledge from their environment, school, family, friends and community. This approach to the educational care enhances the integration of interventions such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.
The benefits of ABA-based interventions are well documented. Multiple studies have shown that students who receive early intensive behavioral treatment have demonstrated notable and sustained gains in communicative skills, academic performance, adaptive behaviors, and, many times, social skills. Each student has their own unique “fingerprint” of who they are. This fingerprint is formed by genetics, environment, intellectual ability, physical health, social skills, and adaptive behavior—all things that are part of the Beacon model. That uniqueness has to be focused on and addressed in order to light the way of the possibilities that may be open to that student. If you don’t open the door to see the possibilities, you have nowhere to go. Therefore, the use of ABA has to be unique to each student in order to be effective. Our teachers, therapists and interventionists understand the behavior-environment relationship and implement ABA-based techniques in planning, replicating and evaluating classroom engagement and participation that can then be generalized in our community based instruction. They understand the principles of behavior and the procedures for increasing the frequency, duration and intensity of existing positive behavior; nurturing new behaviors; and decreasing the frequency, duration and intensity of negative behaviors. Strategies are outlined and executed to produce behavior changes that can be generalized—maintained across periods of time, reoccur in appropriate settings beyond the learning environment and lead to other useful, desirable behaviors.
Changing behavior, in any setting, is often challenging. The challenge is in knowing what to do and how do it. At Beacon Day School, we meet this challenge daily by creating a meaningful and vibrant learning environment that helps the students to obtain more effective ways of communicating with, adapting to and interacting with their peers, their families and within their communities.