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If you have a child who has been diagnosed with a spectrum disorder like autism, your pediatrician may have suggested a therapy called applied behavior analysis. Sometimes called ABA therapy, it’s designed to help children on the spectrum develop social and emotional skills. ‌

Applied behavior analysis is a type of interpersonal therapy in which a child works with a practitioner one-on-one. The goal of applied behavior analysis is to improve social skills by using interventions that are based on principles of learning theory.

ABA therapy helps children on the autism spectrum by:

  • Increasing their social abilities like completing tasks, communicating, and learning new skills

  • Implementing maintenance behaviors like self-control and self-regulation

  • Teaching them to transfer learned behaviors to new environments

  • Modifying the learning environment to challenge them in certain scenarios

  • Reducing negative behaviors like self-harm

Pros of Applied Behavior Analysis

Personalized plan. Applied behavior analysis looks different for each person. Individual goals are set based on what your child struggles with the most. During individual therapy sessions, the practitioner can adapt to your child’s needs that day.

Broad application. Applied behavior analysis is designed to help with many concerns, including:

  • Depression

  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ( ADHD)

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

  • Fears and phobias

  • Issues with anger management

  • Severe anxiety ‌

ABA therapy can also be helpful for adults with autism and other behavioral disorders.

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