Sequencing: A Key Element of Pediatric ABA Therapy

Pediatric ABA Therapy

Sequence analysis ABA — the concept that there is a linear structure for activities and behaviors — is deeply important to applied behavioral analysis treatment for autism. It is a focal point of ABA therapy and an organizational element of the process. Everything happens for a reason, and everything works towards a specific goal.

ABA therapy, as a process, is most effective when acted out in the correct order. Every step matters, from the initial consultation to the functional behavior analysis to your child’s eventual discharge from the treatment program. That sense of order and progression is reflected in one of the most important therapeutic concepts: Sequence Analysis ABA Therapy

What Is Sequencing?

Sequencing is the process of performing actions in a certain order. It is a skill many people learn early in life that is not natural in a person with autism.

Sequences are usually used to accomplish something that we think of as single actions. For example, you might think of putting away your clean dishes as a single task. In fact, an exceptionally large number of smaller, discrete actions are necessary. You might have to open a dishwasher, operate its drawers, identify different items, and so on.

Why Do Children Need Sequencing?

We all need sequencing — it helps us complete complex tasks. We use it to solve problems, perform tasks, and interact socially. Children with autism spectrum disorders need to focus on this skill because it is the first step towards completing nearly any academic or social goal they have.

How Does ABA Teach Sequencing?

ABA therapists use various ABA therapy techniques to promote, foster, and reinforce sequencing. Children with autism often benefit from motivational tools, visual aids, variations in structure, and sequence indicators. Here are some examples of each in action:

  • Motivation: Identify a desired item and create a sequence or game necessary to obtain it — placing a treat in a clear container, for example.
  • Visual aids: Split tasks into steps, with illustrations of each step on separate cards. Use these in conjunction with performing the relevant tasks.
  • Variation: Express sequence consistently and in as many ways as possible: visibly, through narrative, with specially designed toys and games, via song, and through acting, for example.
  • Indicators: Continually reinforce sequences with counting signs or language, such as using ordinals: first, second, and so on.

How Can You Get Started?

Sequencing is a skill everyone uses daily — you are using sequencing right at this moment, reading this article. Challenges are often easy to spot. For example, if your child shows overly simple play or difficulty learning daily tasks, there is a good chance ABA therapy could help.

Of course, every child’s sequencing ability is assessed by professionals at the beginning of ABA treatment and then reassessed throughout the course of the personalized program. To learn more, please contact us to make an initial appointment today.