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Understanding Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Imagine that you are working in your front yard, which for some reason is not growing. You can see the yards of your neighbors, which are green and healthy.  You have watered and mowed your yard just as your neighbors do, but you just aren’t getting the same outcome.  You decide to go to the local hardware store to see if there is something you can use that will help your lawn to grow.  Upon entering the hardware store, you see shelf upon shelf of products all “guaranteeing” to work miracles on your lawn.  Some of them carrying a pretty hefty price tag.  Before you invest in any of these products, you wonder to yourself, “how can I be sure that these products will do what they claim?  After all, I will be investing money, time, and effort into using this product.”

You then notice your neighbor enter the store and remember that not too long ago, his yard had been in need of help.  Knowing that he likely has already faced a similar trial, you decide to approach and ask his advice.  Your neighbor responds that he spent a lot of time and resources trying different products to learn which ones worked, and which ones didn’t.  He goes on to say that he studied each product over time to determine which one yielded the absolute best results on a consistent basis, and then shared this information with you.  It felt so much better knowing that the product you chose had been “tested” over time and proven to be consistently effective.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is very much like the story above.  It is a field of study which continually evaluates the effectiveness of many strategies and approaches to working with children with autism and related developmental disabilities.  Fortunately, there are people who are trained and certified in the application of these strategies.  These individuals are able to use years of effective research based strategies to teach new skills and reduce unwanted behaviors, helping your child move closer towards realizing their full potential.

If you would like more information about the principles of ABA and how they can be used to help your family, please call Children’s Care Hospital and School at 605-782-2300 or ask your physician for resources close to your area.

"What I like most about my job is the direct care with the children each day. The children are so special and to be able to help them and take care of their needs is very rewarding."
– Jackie K., Teaching Assistant

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