Firstly, Autism does not make any person less than any other human being. In working with children on the autism spectrum, I have learnt how undeniably special and gifted they all are. I work for The Star Academy, offering applied behavioral analysis therapy to children on the Autism spectrum and through this type of therapy recovery is achievable. Applied behavioral analysis is applying one on one therapy to a child on the Autism spectrum alongside a well-tailored specific program that aids to provide necessary skills, which is child specific, in addition to and most important behavioral intervention plans. There are three necessary areas which we focus on developing: social interaction, communication and repetitive and stereotypic behavior. Our main aim is have our children equip themselves with the necessary skills and abilities to allow them to be the best at what they can be in our society. Applied behavioral analysis is categorised into two types of therapy: discrimination training and natural environmental training. Each type of applied behavioral analysis therapy is followed through purely on the bases of the child’s skills requisites. We follow a three term contingency plan, this is specified into the :antecedent, behavior and the consequence. The antecedent is anything that occurs prior to the behavior and the consequence is what precedes the behavior. Through this we are able to construct a child specific behavioral intervention plan and because of this, we are able to impact the possibility of the behavior re-occuring. The main aspect in the three term contingency is the concept of consistency. If any instructor that applies therapy is not consistent in there efforts the resulting consequence will be affected.
Reinforcement is also a very important aspect of applied behavioral analysis. Reinforcement is the presentation of a favoured item (tangible or social) to the child that produces favoured and desired responses. The stronger the reinforcement the higher the chance of the favoured outcome will be achieved. In determining the preferred item a child gravitating towards in the current moment, we would present a preference assessment to the child to determine a hierarchy of preferred items that will be delivered to the child dependent on the response effort produced by the child. In regards to behavior management, challenging behaviors, for our children, are a way they would use to communicate with us, through a behavioral intervention plan and applied behavioral analysis we would aim to create appropriate ways in which our children can communicate to us what they would like or what they do not like. Our behavioral intervention plans are determined based on the function of the behavior which can either be : automatic, access to tangible, form of an escape or attention. Depending on these functions a behavioral intervention
plan will be drawn up with a operating definition, antedecents, replacement behaviors and the consequence.
Through applied behavior analysis we aim to give our children the lives they deserve, to reach recovery and enjoy their lives in the most best way they can. That being said, many hours of the day are spent outside of our centre. Thus, in addition to providing thorough applied behavior analysis training to our staff, it is important that we provide applied behavior analysis training to the parents and significant others involved in a child’s life so that they may carry over what is learned in the centre environment to the home and community settings. Other professionals are also welcome to reap the benefits of applied behavior analysis training – speech therapists, occupational therapists, teachers, and any other significant role players in the lives of children with autism.