Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is an evidence-based practice. ABA therapy is based on the science of learning and behavior. Behavior analysis helps us understand: how behavior work, how behavior is affected by the environment, and how learning takes place. The goal of ABA therapy is to increase behaviors that are helpful and decrease behaviors that are harmful or affecting learning. ABA also helps transfer skills and behavior from one situation to another, controlling situations where negative behaviors arise and minimizing negative behaviors. ABA therapy is an intensive and ongoing treatment and it evolves with the individual’s needs.

How can ABA therapy help?
  • It increases language and communication skills.
  • Improves attention, focus, social skills, memory, and academics.
  • Decreases problem behaviors.
  • Improves independent living skills and social skills.
ABA is a flexible treatment it can be adapted to meet the needs of each unique person. It can be provided in different locations- at home, school, and in the community.

Who can benefit from ABA therapy?
  • Children with autism and related disorders.
  • Children with other communication disorders.
  • Parent of children with challenging behaviors.
ABA has succeeded with individuals of all ages, it helps individuals with and without diagnosis adopt beneficial behaviors.

What does an ABA program involve?
ABA programs are completely individualized. The goal of an ABA programs is to help each person work on skills that will help them become more independent and successful in the short term and most importantly in the future.

The first step to an ABA program is an individual assessment with the patient and the parents. During this assessment a clinical history of the child is discussed with the parents and then the child's skills and preferences are assessed. Treatment goals are then individualized to fit each child’s individual needs. This assessment helps the behavior analyst determine the optimum number of hours of therapy that the individual will need per week.

Some of the different skill areas that may be assessed include the following:
  • Communication and language skills
  • Social skills
  • Self-care
  • Play and leisure
  • Motor skills
  • Learning and academic skills
  • Maladaptive behaviors
After the initial assessment an individualized treatment plan is created with specific goals in order for the therapist to break down the needed skills and teach each skill one step at a time. Progress is measured by collecting data in each therapy session, this data helps monitor the progress towards the treatment goals on an ongoing basis. This data is reviewed by the behavior analyst and the treatment plan and goals are adjusted regularly for the benefit of the learner.

How does ABA therapy work?
Two of the main strategies of skill acquisition and behavior modification in ABA are the following:

Positive reinforcement when a behavior is followed by something positive that behavior is more likely to be repeated. ABA therapy uses this strategy to reinforce wanted behavior (i.e: speech) and over time this encourages a positive behavior change.

ABCs of Behavior ABC stands for antecedent, behavior, and consequence. Antecedent, is the understanding of what happens right before the behavior, and consequence is the understanding of what happens after the behavior occurs. This helps us understand why the behavior may be happening, and how the consequences affect the behavior and if it is likely to happen again. This is the foundation of behavior modification in ABA therapy. This is used to determine which behaviors need to be reinforced in order for them to be more likely to occur again and which behaviors need to be replaced with appropriate behaviors.

Example:
Antecedent: The parent removes the iPad from the child
Behavior: The child throws himself on the floor and cries
Consequence: The parent gives the child the iPad

With ABA treatment this scenario could look like this:
Antecedent: The parent removes the iPad from the child
Behavior: The child ask for one more minute with the iPad
Consequence: The parent gives the child one more minute on the iPad

The inappropriate behavior of throwing himself on the floor and crying to get access to the iPad is replaced with the appropriate behavior of him asking for the iPad properly.

How does a therapy session look like?
A typical therapy session consists of at least 2 hours. During this time the instructor uses a variety of ABA procedures in order to teach skills to the student. During these two hours the core deficits of the child are addressed using a variety of skills individually created to meet the child’s needs.

The learner will have many opportunities during the session to practice skills each day. This can happen in both planned and natural occurring situations. The learner receives positive reinforcement for demonstrating useful skills and appropriate behaviors. This therapy is based on positive social interactions and enjoyable learning.

The behavior analyst trains the instructor, in the case that he/she is not the one performing the therapy, and supervises the instructor to make sure the ABA procedures are being implemented properly.

Parent involvement
It is IMPERATIVE that the parents/caregivers be involved in treatment. Parents and caregivers are with the child most of the day so it is very important for treatment success that they are involved. They need to be able to generalize what is being taught in the therapy sessions to real world situations. This is why it is extremely important that parents, family members, and caregivers receive training so they can support learning and skill practice through the day. This training is performed by the behavior analyst at least once per month.

IMPORTANT! Before starting ABA therapy it will be necessary to carry out an initial assessment which will last one hour (rate: 80 Euros). In this interview the parents/guardians must attend with the child they should bring all documentation of any previous reports available in order to better evaluate the patient.

Additional resources:
https://www.bacb.com/about-behavior-analysis/
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/applied-behavior-analysis

Prices:
Initial assessment- 80 euros
Treatment plan updates- 60 euros
Parent training- 60 euros

RATES

  ABA THERAPY AT HOME UNIT PRICE TOTAL
4 hours / week 2 hours - 2 days / week 27,50 euros / hour 440 € / month
6 hours / week 3 hours - 2 days / week or 2 hours - 3 days / week 25 euros / hour 600 € / month
8 hours / week 2 hours - 4 days / week 22,50 euros / hour 720 € / month
10 hours / week 2 hours - 5 days / week 20 euros / hour 800 € / month
12 hours / week 3 hours - 4 days / week 17,50 euros / hour 840 € / month
15 hours / week 3 hours - 5 days / week 15 euros / hour 900 € / month

  ABA THERAPY AT SCHOOL UNIT PRICE TOTAL
6 hours / week 3 days / week, 2 hours / day 22,50 euros / hour 540 € / month
10 hours / week 5 days / week, 2 hours / day 20 euros / hour 800 € / month
15 hours / week 5 days / week, 3 hours / day 15 euros / hour 900 € / month
20 hours / week 5 days / week, 4 hours / day 12,50 euros / hour 1000 € / month


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