What is applied behaviour analysis and verbal behaviour? Is it suited to my child?
8th January, 2010
Verbal Behaviour (VB) is ABA
ABA is simply the scientific approach which can be used in many different environments. Applied Behaviour Analysis, or ABA is simply the systematic approach to changing behaviour through the manipulation of antecendents (what happens immediately before the behaviour occurs) and consequences (what happens immediately after the behaviour occurs). For many years the science of ABA was known in the world of teaching those with autism as behaviour modification or the Lovaas method. In fact, Dr Lovaas and others like him designed the first implementations of ABA and used these to help our children. All of these principles were based on B.F.Skinner’s findings, published in his book the behaviour of organisms (published in 1938) Methods used back then relied heavily on aversives, sterile environments and techniques which are now unethical. Research since then has led to massive improvements, both in terms of reults and approach. Unfortunately, the stigma still remains based upon the approaches used in the 70s and 80s. Since the early 80s, research has steadily progressed and older techniques and strategies have been replaced with those which help us best teach our learners with autism and other developmental disabilities. The ABA used today in intervention only loosley resembles that used in the
early days of autism intervention.
Regardless of changes in technique, such as positive reinforcement and natural environment teaching, BF Skinner's principles remain in tact. His principles are the foundation for all that is Applied Behaviour Analysis, in all areas of its use. ABA is simply the basis of how all behaviour occurs and it's principles used in the workplace, early intervention, intervention with children and adults with a huge array of developmental disabilities and is now being used in the treatment of depression. The past decade has clearly shown that the use of ABA is now the right choice for all families of children with autism and its related disorders, and research clearly demonstrates
that it is the only empirically valid and documented scientific approach to treatment.
This change is the development of the Verbal Behaviour approach to ABA. VB is a philisophy of ABA and a series of evidence based teaching techniques that focus the principles of ABA on the acquisition of language skills. People developinng VB included Jack Michael, Mark Sundberg, Joe Spradlin and many others. Between them, they have founded a series of new techniques to apply to Dr Skinners's book, Verbal Behaviour, to the needs of
children and now adults with language delays. It is from the procedural differences of the VB approach that the true potential of ABA is being realised. Since the 90s, VB has become the autism therapy of choice in the US. Due to ABA, and in a large part the advancements of the VB approach to ABA, more children are making important progress and recovering from the effects of autism every year. The reason behind this is that we are teaching mum and dad to take full control of their child's intervention We are equipping them with the skills to teach themselves, to exploit the
potentially thousands of learning opportunities each day.
If your child's provider, therapist or teachers are not using some form of ABA to educate yourbaby boys. They are due in January and, because of the success with her older boys and because she has read all of the relevant research, she is putting a behaviour plan in place immediately that they are born. This is really exciting. It is only an understanding and manipulation of the environment's responses to our child's motivations and behaviours which
can help him or her to develop the behaviour needed to become indistinguishable from his or her peers.
Our children can choose solitude because they don't understand the unpredictable nature of others and they lack the tools to successfully interact in situations that they cannot control in some way. We can use motivations and VB to equip them with these tools. In doing this, we have seen a 27 year old say his first words during our first consultation, a child with downs syndrome become completely fluent in their conversational skills, a 5 year old boy go from non verbal and self injurioius to socially motivated with 577 spontaneous mands in three months, and many children become indistinguishable from their peers.
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