Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy is significant for both children and adults. It is a scientifically proven therapy for behavior improvement. It helps people deal with communication issues, social skills, and confidence. This therapy also helps children and even adults with their school and academics, besides, it is also beneficial to people struggling at a workplace regarding communication issues, job competence and punctuality.
Moreover, this therapy has improved people’s domestic potentiality, general mobility, hygiene and health care and basic self-grooming. Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy is extremely helpful for kids with psychological disorders like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism, etc.
This therapy miraculously decreases the need for regular special services for kids with psychological disorders. Though it is more useful with children, it has significantly improved the condition of adults too with psychological disorders who have been neglected in their childhood.
Career in Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy:
To be an Applied Behavior Analyst (or Applied Behavior Analysis Therapist), you have to earn a Master’s in either Psychology or Applied Behavior Analysis as the first step. You can apply to get a master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis in any university of your choice. However, you can opt for a master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis online as many universities are offering this program now at quite a cheap scale.
Once, you have attained your master’s degree, you are supposed to pass the national certification exam to become a board-certified behavior analyst to start working as an Applied Behavior Analyst. Then, the last step depends on which state you are living in. Some state requires you to have a license to practice in your field. If your state is one of them, you are supposed to seek a license to practice as an Applied Behavior Analyst.
Applied Behavior Analysis programs let you work as either therapists or registered behavior technicians. There are various names for board-certified behavior analysts. Some of the common ones include behavioral therapists, behavioral analysts, line therapists and behavior technicians. Pursuing a career in this field is very remarkable because it is the 6th most meaning career option in the United States
Philosophy of Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy:
Doctor Montrose Wolf, back in the 60s, was trying to develop some sort of treatment for an autistic child in his care. He was trying to deal with attention issues the child was going through based on the research B.F. Skinner, a psychologist. Thus, he ended up coming with a philosophy that became the foundation of Applied Behavioral Analysis.
He came up with three words that now have a connotation in applied behavioral analysis. Here they are:
Antecedent: This is the starting circumstance that leads to a certain behavior or mood. This can be either verbal or physical. Also, this can be prompted by an external thing or a person or an internal thought or a feeling.
Behavior: This is the result of the antecedent. It can either be shown (through a tantrum, either verbal or physical) or can be hidden because of the inability or confusion to respond.
Consequence: This is the reaction or lack of it that comes right after the initial behavior from the person who is associated with the child/adult with the disorder.
Techniques of the Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy:
There are several techniques used by behavior technicians to help kids or adults with disorders. It takes more than expertise in the field to help these kids with special needs. It takes a kind heart and soul. Here are the three most essential and common techniques used by the behavior technicians:
1. Positive Reinforcement
The kids with social inabilities are not able to do anything correctly. However, when they do, the behavior analyst is supposed to appreciate the kid in a manner that they keep doing the thing and eventually learn to do it the right way.
2. Prompting and Fading
The applied behavior analyst uses verbal and/or visual cues to help the kid do the right thing. It could be looking in the eye or pointing towards the washbasin or using a word which would make the kid, let’s say, wash his hands. Then, when the kid learns to do the thing the right way, a behavior analyst stops using that prompt. However, the fading of a prompt has to be done slowly.
3. Negative Reinforcement
When a child with a physical inability does the thing wrongly and other methods are not helping either, then negative reinforcement comes into the picture. The behavior analyst punishes the kid. The punishment has to be light but specific and consistent over the wrong thing. Otherwise, this can become confusing and painful for the kid. An analyst must know that learning has to be focused, not punishment.
Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy has been proven greatly significant for kids with Autism. Even apart from Autism, this is an evidence-based therapy that helps both children and adults deal with their mental disorders.
Also, it is an amazing career to pursue because of how rewarding it is. As an applied behavior analyst, you are changing the lives of all your patients with every single thing you say or do.