From the moment they are born, all children begin to develop language. This occurs as a result of interpersonal relationships and play. Learning and using language can be more difficult for autistic children than it is for typically developing children. Because autistic children show less interest in other people in the first 12 months of life. They may have difficulty learning the language. Because they may not require or desire as much communication with others as typically developing children. They do not have as many opportunities to develop their language skills. For parents and guardians of children with autism, improving communication and language skills is a top priority. There are several conditions and symptoms that are associated with autism in children. Challenges in social communication and verbal speech are among them. The most effective treatment for autism symptoms is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, which can help children on the spectrum improve their communication skills.
Applied Behavior Analysis:
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a behavior therapy based on learning and behavior science. Behavior analysis aids us in fully grasping:
- How behavior works.
- How behavior is affected by the environment.
- How learning takes place.
The idea is to maximize positive behavior while reducing harmful or learning-inhibiting behaviors. ABA is a treatment that is adaptable. It can be customized to meet the needs of each individual. It can be provided in a variety of settings, including the home, school, and community.
ABA in Verbal Therapy:
The study of language development has a long history in the field of behavior analysis. Skinner believed that all human actions, including language and language acquisition, were based on behavior. Skinner identified five behavioral operants in language:
Mand – A motivating operation that results in immediate reinforcement, such as a directly stated demand (“I want milk!”).
Tact – A description or observation of the surroundings.
Intra –verbal Responses to other people prompts (tacts or mands, for example).
Echoic – Repetition of other people’s verbal behavior.
Autoclitic: For example, “I think I want milk,” is an autoclitic form of one of the other forms.
Techniques in ABA Therapy:
Techniques commonly used in ABA that are associated with teaching language skills include
The ABA uses a functional language approach that connects rewards and motivations to language development; for example, if ice cream is a reward for the patient, “ice cream” will be a phrase that the ABA focuses on teaching through repetition and continued rewards for improvement.
Picture Communication Training:
PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), which uses electronic displays and pointing or clicking to convey concepts and establish communication, is one of the nonverbal communication systems developed by ABAs for use with patients.
Pivotal Response Training (PRT):
PRT identifies critical actions points and rewards progress toward the positive development of those tendencies, regardless of ancillary behavior patterns or stumbling blocks. This can include immersion steps where patients primarily interact within the target language in language development scenarios.
Increasing Communication within Applied Behavior Analysis:
When learning to communicate, children with autism may require extra assistance. To help children with autism learn to communicate, applied behavior analysts now use a combination of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) interventions such as the picture exchange communication system (PECS), speech-generating devices (SGDs), sign language, and communication boards.
Read Also: Checklist for Autism Treatment Selection
It is defined as any nonverbal medium of interaction that enhances or replaces vocal speech in students with communication difficulties. When it comes to learning how to communicate, every child is different. When developing an AAC intervention plan, applied behavior analysts must consider the specific learning, communication, and behavioral challenges of the child. They must also collaborate with speech-language pathologists to determine the most appropriate method of teaching communication. These challenges are diverse and can be linked to specific issues. Difficulties processing auditory information, limited speaking skills, difficulty understanding the meaning and rhythm of words and phrases, and difficulty deciphering body language are all possible challenges.
Four Forms of AAC:
PECS is defined by the Association for Science in Autism Treatment as “a methodology that uses pictures and other symbols to develop a functional communication system for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) based on applied behavior analysis principles” (ABA).
SGDs, which are known for their portability and convenience, improve social interactions in natural settings. They also enjoy widespread peer acceptance, which is useful. SGDs, on the other hand, frequently involve the use of additional materials for communication.
Communication boards can be used as a way for parents and children to friendship. The method of communication is also fairly straightforward, with both high-tech and low-tech options available. However, high-tech communication tools are prohibitively expensive, limiting access to advanced communication.
Research and the Rules of Applied Behavior Analysts:
PECS and SGDs have been shown to be effective in teaching communication skills to students with learning disabilities in studies. Applied behavior analysts use the findings of these studies to create personalized intervention programs for each child and collaborate with other professionals to advance the field’s techniques.
Applied behavior analysts work to change individual behavior using targeted, evidence-based interventions. Planning, development, and monitoring of treatments for behavioral challenges; maintaining records of client progress and status; consulting with and teaching instructional team members; collaboration with families, related service providers, and other agencies; and conducting periodic service reviews to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment progress are some of the typical duties within the role.
Overall, applied behavior analysis is a versatile treatment that can be used with a variety of techniques. Each technique aims to replace negative behaviors with more appropriate, positive ones. It’s also crucial to improve the child’s concentration, motivation, speech, and social connections. Applied behavior analysis can be tailored to fit almost any disability and client’s requirements. Individualized and specialized assistance is required for children with disabilities. Fortunately, there are a number of people trained in these and other techniques who can assist children who require additional assistance in becoming successful and happy adults.