Behavioral and Communication Approaches


Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)                    top

What is ABA?

  • Applied behavior analysis is the scientific study of behavior. It attempts to understand, describe, change and predict behavior.
  • Variations in behavior, changes in its frequency or form are understood in terms of relations with real-world events. It is analyzed in terms of interactions between behavior itself and the environment.
  • ABA emphasizes careful measurement of observed behavior.
  • ABA is a framework for the practice of a science and not a specific program. ABA is a set of principles and guidelines upon which educational programs (such as Discrete Trials) are based and should not be used synonymously with a specific technique.

Core Beliefs of ABA

  • Behavior can be shaped by the events that occur before and after it
  • Behaviors, both positive and negative, can be changed when the environment is changed
  • Behaviors, both positive and negative, can be learned through the consequences that follow them
  • In order to create an effective plan, it is important to first come to an agreement about what behavior will be addressed, what functions it may be serving, and what can be done to reduce its occurrence in the future
  • The focus is on effective and generalizable outcomes benefiting individuals

What is Positive Behavior Supports (PBS)?        top

  • PBS is the application of applied behavior analysis to an individual child with the goal of bettering the quality of life of the child and his/her family
  • PBS offers an approach for developing an understanding of why the child engages in problem behavior and strategies for preventing the occurrence of problem behavior while teaching the child new skills
  • PBS is a collaborative, assessment-based process to develop effective, individualized interventions (support plans) for individuals with challenging behavior
  • Support plans focus on making proactive changes and teaching new skills

Core Beliefs of PBS

  • Challenging behaviors are addressed by a team who know the child and share a similar vision for behavior change
  • Behavior intervention focuses on the child's strengths and interests
  • Challenging behaviors are addressed by teaching new, replacement skills that meet the same need (function) as the challenging behavior
  • Addressing the needs of a child with challenging behaviors is a ongoing process that requires training in a variety of settings

What is Responsive Interaction?                           top

  • Responsive interaction is a set of strategies used to maintain a child's interest in conversations and to provide models of correct language and communication skills

Core Beliefs of Responsive Interaction

  • Language is learned through functional, meaningful, and motivating interactions
  • Language instruction requires an observant and responsive interaction partner
  • Language instruction involves functional consequences
  • Play and routines are important opportunities to provide the child with meaningful linguistic input by responding to what (s)he says and does
  • Following the child's lead in play and topic of conversation is an important strategy for fostering interaction and communication development

What is Routines Based Instruction (RBI)?        top

  • RBI is a strategy for embedding effective teaching procedures throughout a child's typical day

Core Beliefs of RBI

  • When skills are embedded into familiar routines, parents and caregivers have lots of opportunities to teach meaningful skills
  • When skills are inserted into familiar routines, children have many opportunities to practice
  • Skills that are embedded into typical routines are more functional, meaningful, and motivating for the child and family
  • Skills that are embedded into typical routines can be applied more quickly across settings, sometime without the need for additional training
  • Training is spread across the day and diverse activities
  • Routines should be family-guided, flexible, and dynamic

What are Visual & Environmental Supports (VS/ES)?                                                                       top

  • Visual and environmental supports are prompts or cues that help the child better understand his/her environment, prepare for change, and communicate

Core Beliefs of VS/ES

  • Visual and environmental supports provide a permanent representation of transient information
  • Visual and environmental supports foster communication and independence and may decrease challenging behaviors
  • Visual and environmental supports help adults communicate consistently with the child
  • Visual and environmental supports minimize distractions and provide concrete information for children who process information visually
  • Using visual supports helps minimize distractions and establish attention to salient cues by making the message clear
  • Visual and environmental supports can reduce anxiety by providing structure, teaching flexibility, and supporting transitions
  • Visual and environmental supports can help teach social skills, including people identification and turn-taking