How The Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center of Learning Utilizes ABA Research

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy is considered one of the most effective methods to improve challenging behavior and learn new skills among children on the autism spectrum. ABA therapy utilizes tactics such as positive reinforcement in order to bring positive changes in behavior. With over 30 years of research demonstrating its effectiveness, ABA therapy has become fairly standard when working with individuals with autism. At the Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center of Learning, we provide ABA treatment in Utah, as well as participate in and conduct ABA research in conjunction with reputable universities.

The findings of our Applied Behavior Analysis research are incorporated into our programming, trainings, and facilities to provide our students with the most up-to-date education. So, how exactly do we do this? And most importantly, how does our ABA treatment in Utah work?

What is Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy?

ABA (Analysis Behavior Analysis) therapy was first developed by Dr. Ivar Lovaas in 1980 as a subset of the branch of psychology, Behaviorism. This particular area of psychology was made popular in the 1950s as a way of training animals by Dr. Skinner and Pavlov but soon grew into studying the behavior of humans. While the original methods of Behaviorism have been abandoned, the study did pave the way for developing modern practices. ABA has become widely recognized, utilized, and recommended for children on the autism spectrum. This type of therapy helps us understand three main aspects of behavior

  1. How learning takes place
  2. How behavior works
  3. How behavior is influenced by the environment

In addition to understanding behavior, ABA also helps the child adjust their behavior. The program focuses on helping to: 

  • Decrease problematic behaviors 
  • Increase communication and language skills
  • Improve focus, memory, social skills, academics, and attention

Through these foundations, we have developed behavioral, pre-vocational, vocational, and educational programming and curriculum. Our goal is to prepare children with autism for success in a less restrictive environment that utilizes evidence-based practices.

How We Integrate Applied Behavior Analysis Research Into the Classroom

A Teacher Using Applied Behavior Analysis Research Into the Classroom.

Since ABA is a flexible treatment, we are able to utilize our research in many different ways. This method of therapy can be adapted specifically for the child, as well as be used at home and in the community. Our ABA research is utilized in the classroom in a few different and helpful ways. While these methods may vary from child to child, the overall goal of Applied Behavior Analysis is always the same: improve challenging behaviors and increase skills.

The ABC’s

The ABC’s of Applied Behavior Analysis are Antecedents, Behavior, and Consequences. This is used to help teach and understand behavior overall, mostly to understand why the behavior is happening and how different consequences could positively change this behavior. Let’s break these down. 

Antecedent: This is what happens right before the target behavior. It can be a command or request, a toy or object, or something else in the environment. This can come from another person or internally, such as a feeling or thought. 

Behavior: The next step is the response or lack thereof to the antecedent. This can be a verbal response, action, or something else. 

Consequence: Lastly, this is the response to the behavior. This can utilize positive reinforcement or no reaction. To apply ABA, positive reinforcement should be used. 

An example of this would be a teacher tells the class, “It’s time to clean up your toys.” at the end of the day – this is the antecedent. When using ABA, a student could be reminded to ask for five more minutes of play – this is the behavior. Finally, the consequence would be the teacher responding with, “Yes, you may have five more minutes.” This helps to change the behavior in a positive way and replace inappropriate behavior.

Positive Reinforcement

As discussed in the ABC’s, positive reinforcement is utilized to replace inappropriate behavior with appropriate behavior. This is done by awarding something that is valued when the child shows positive behavior. Each time the child uses the skill or behavior successfully, they are rewarded with something like a toy, book, playground time, or praise. This encourages the child to keep utilizing this skill and leads to meaningful behavior change.

Our ABA Treatment in Utah

Our curriculum and ABA treatment in Utah include practices such as reinforcement, visual supports, prompting, discrete trial training, task analysis, schedules, modeling, time delay, and incidental teaching/naturalistic teaching strategies. In addition, we also utilize social narratives to teach students new socially significant skills, concepts, and behaviors. Utilizing our ABA research allows us to stay up-to-date on all treatment methods and implement the most successful methods into our everyday curriculum. At the Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center of Learning, we are always striving to utilize modern and effective methods in helping children with autism. If you’re interested in learning more about ABA or how to enroll your child, please contact us today!