How ABA Develops Social Skills
If you are a parent, or someone who works with a child who has autism in your life, the main concern for you may be having them develop social skills. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has a therapy that puts an emphasis on helping children with autism develop social skills that may make your life or job easier.
This form of therapy uses a set of procedures and techniques based on the science of behavior analysis. It is designed to improve a child with autism in a variety of skills related to social intuition, social language, and social play.
For the typical child, social skills come naturally, but research shows children with autism need social skills taught to them. Common social skills taught to early learners can include:
Making eye contact
Appropriate or pretend play
Playing interactively with other children
Being able to identify social cues
Being able to identify emotions
Applied Behavior Analysis and Developing Social Skills
ABA commonly addresses those on the autism spectrum on how to develop social skills. In this program, behavioral objectives include:
Being Very Specific in Content
Setting goals are very specific in their content. An example would be having a goal to reciprocate greetings from peers, and not simply greetings.
Measurable and Definable
Goals with Applied Behavior Analysis are measurable and definable. An example is if the student turns their body towards a peer, waves, and says, 'hi', it can be measured and seen as a success in working towards a specific goal.
ABA understands that not everyone or a child is going to have the same goals. The program recognizes skills vary between children and so should the goals.
Behavioral objectives will help recognize if any changes have occurred as they can be measured and show whether or not the treatment is effective. The way it is determined whether or not an intervention is successful is to collect data before, during, and after the intervention. If there is an increase or decrease in the behavior, it will tell if the method used is effective or needs adjustment.
How Applied Behavior Analysis Works
ABA is comprised of many techniques for understanding and changing one's behavior on the autism spectrum. This flexible treatment:
Is adapted to meet the needs of each unique individual
Can be provided in homes, schools, in the community, and other different locations
Will teach skills that are useful in everyday life, such as social skills
Can be used in group instruction or as a one-on-one teaching method
Social skills training is not a specific curriculum within the Applied Behavior Analysis but is instead a collection of practices used as a behavioral approach. The approach teaches children age-appropriate social skills and competencies, including:
ABA teaches teachers and parents how to use a structured approach with a child on how to enact the desired behavior by giving them examples and then reinforcing the targeted behavior. This approach is to show the child what is expected, and when they repeat the behavior example positively, they are given a positive reward. The program shows how to respond to child-generated interactions, utterances, and behaviors that will encourage the desired social skill to continue.
Evidence ABA Works
Applied Behavior Analysis is an evidence-based practice treatment recognized by the U.S. Surgeon General and the American Psychological Association. Being 'evidence-based' shows that ABA passed scientific tests for its effectiveness, quality, and usefulness. Studies have shown this program provides children with gains in their intellectual functioning, daily living skills, social functioning, and language development.
Where to Learn More About ABA and Developing Social Skills
ABA Pathways has a staff committed to creating a brighter future for your child and your family. We are ready to create an optimal treatment program to help your child struggling with social skills and other individual needs. Contact us today and learn how we can help your child through our holistic comprehensive program and foster their growth in appropriate social behavior and communication.