Life Is About Learning: My Educational Journey

Behavior Counseling, Applied Behavior Analysis, and ASD

Making friends, talking to new people, and working as part of a team all require social skills. Children who have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis often have difficulty developing social abilities. But that doesn't mean your child will get left behind—or left out. Behavioral counseling strategies (such as children's behavior analysis) can help children with ASD to gradually build the social skills that they'll use for a lifetime. How? Check out the whats, whys, and hows of applied behavior analysis (ABA).

Focused Learning

Behavioral counseling doesn't have to include working on a wide array of issues. When it comes to children's behavior analysis, a strategy such as ABA allows the therapist to work with the child on a specific skill. This typically involves drills or repetitive training in one area. Instead of getting a child to "be more social," the therapist may work with the child on introducing himself or herself to a new potential friend or communicating with other people in a group or team setting.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Providing too many instructions at once may quickly overwhelm the child. ABA breaks down expected behaviors into manageable steps. Instead of expecting the child to meet the end goal, the therapist guides the child to practice each individual behavior that's necessary to get to the final result.

Positive Reinforcement

Applied behavioral analysis uses positive reinforcement to guide the child's actions. Keep in mind, this isn't the same thing as bribery. No one's giving the child a five-dollar bill or a new toy for each and every step that she takes. But the therapist may give the child a thumbs up or an, "Excellent work!" In some cases, the therapist may reward the child with an actual object (instead of verbal praise). This might be a sticker or a small prize.

Real Life

Learning in the vacuum of a therapist's office may not help the child to transfer the skills that they are gaining into the real world. That's why behavioral counseling often happens where the child naturally is. This might mean that the therapist works with the child directly in the classroom or in the home setting. By teaching the child in their natural environment, the child can see how and where social skills actually come into play.

Adjustments to Counseling

As the child progresses, the therapy plan may need to change. ABA requires ongoing assessment. This allows the professional to alter the therapy plan or make adjustments for the child's individual needs.

Social-skills training may seem like a challenge for a child who is diagnosed with ASD. Even though autism typically comes with social struggles, this doesn't mean that a child can't communicate, make friends, or eventually build social abilities. Behavioral counseling techniques such as ABA can make a major difference in a child's life—helping her to develop social skills and overcome barriers.

Talk to a company like Behavior Change Success Corp for more information.