Using ABA Data to Help Guide Treatment
As a parent, you can integrate applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy techniques into your daily-life interactions with your child. However, ABA treatment is based on scientific observation. Unfortunately, that means you cannot simply find a list of effective techniques online or in a book.
The key to success is ABA data. Using information from this scientific, methodical, and personalized system, caregivers decide on the best techniques to use for your child’s specific goals.
You do not need any type of scientific training to enact guidance based on this information. However, you do need training to accurately collect it, interpret it and make treatment decisions. Here is a simplified explanation of how pure observation turns into treatment guidance for children with autism spectrum disorders.
1. Collecting Information
One of the core ideas of ABA is that behavior can be measured. As clinicians, we use a variety of data-collection methods to keep track of what your child is doing.
This is more than simply watching. We use graphing, specialized note-taking, and other recording methods to collect information that shows us the following:
- How multiple behaviors could be related to each other
- How long behaviors take (durations of tantrums, times until responses, etc.)
- How often behaviors occur
- How behavior frequency correlates with certain times or situations
2. Forming Hypotheses
Collecting data only shows us what is happening. It does not show us why it happens or how to change behaviors. However, with all of this information, we can now make an educated guess.
Once we make a hypothesis, we can test it in practice. For example, if we know your child acts out more frequently during a specific activity, we could guess the activity is the cause. By eliminating some of the variables, we can move on to our next step.
3. Guiding Treatment
As our hypotheses become more refined, so does the course of treatment. There is a large body of research recommending effective treatments for specific situations. We can correlate those scientific results with your child’s clinical data to choose the best option for each unique situation.
Of course, this is not the final step. We are constantly observing, hypothesizing, and updating treatment plans throughout the course of your child’s treatment. Rather than a one-way process, this is a continuous cycle of refinement.
Each one of these three seemingly simple stages contains multiple complex procedures. As a testament to this, Board Certified Behavior Analysts – the professionals who are licensed to administer behavioral therapy, dedicate their graduate studies and up to a decade of professional experience to earning their credentials.
We want to help you give your child the best possible level of care. Please contact us at any time to schedule an initial meeting.