ABA is the primary and leading approach adopted by the team at Hand in Hand.
Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) refers to the use of behavioural principles and their application to intervention in order to develop behavioural and education teaching programs for individuals who exhibit barriers to learning in the traditional way.
ABA has undergone the most rigorous assessment and research compared to other non-behavioural and eclectic approaches. It is therefore considered an evidence-based approach.
Long term intervention studies show that Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) is considered a highly effective approach to teaching individuals with autism and further, no alternative therapies or interventions have comparable empirical support for their efficacy in treating autism (Smith, 2005). Children who receive intense behavioural intervention (20-40 hours a week) make progress across standardised tests both in the increase of adaptive functional skills, as well as the decrease of barriers to learning.
Following individualised assessment of the learner’s skills and behaviour, a program is devised to teach skills that have not been acquired. Teaching goals will include but will not be limited to; communication, social and learning to learn skills such as; imitation, visual perception skills, listener skills, attention, cooperation, self- help and play skills, group skills, numeracy and literacy skills.
A Positive Behaviour Support approach is used to assess behaviour and devise a function-based behaviour support plan that will target the decrease of problem behaviour and the teaching of functionally equivalent skills.
The aim of any program is to increase the young learner’s skills, reduce the barriers to learning (challenging behaviours), increase participation in the community, help them acquire the skills they need to be able to learn through more traditional methods of teaching and ultimately for the learner to reach their potential.
Once the learner acquires sufficient prerequisite skills, the goal of therapy is to decrease intervention hours and transition the learner back into more traditional educational settings, while ensuring that the appropriate support is available. Essentially, the ultimate goal of intervention would be to increase potential for independence and decrease the level of support that the individual needs across their lifespan.