ABA therapy is completely adapted to the needs of your child and family. As such, it can involve many different techniques for understanding and changing behavior. However, here are a couple of common principles and techniques in any ABA program.
Together, you and your BCBA will set goal behaviors based on your child’s challenges and family’s needs. Your therapist will teach and practice them with your child. Each time your child does the behavior successfully, they get a meaningful reward. Over time, this encourages them to do positive behaviors more often.
Antecedent, behavior, consequence
Understanding antecedents and consequences helps you understand why your child has certain behaviors and how different “consequences” affect whether it will happen again.
• Antecedent: What occurs right before a behavior. This can be a verbal request, a physical object, or a stimulus from the environment such as light or sound.
• Behavior: How your child reacts or doesn’t react to the antecedent. This can be an action, a verbal response, or something else. (This behavior can be referred to as the “target behavior,” the response we are looking to change.)
• Consequence: What comes right after the behavior. This can be the child getting attention or a preferred item, escaping from a non-preferred task, or sensory stimulation as a result of their behavior.