What is Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
Autism is a complex developmental disorder, more prevalent in boys than girls. While every individual with autism is different, the main areas of difficulty include: communication, social interaction and repetitive patterns of thoughts or behaviours. The term “spectrum” reflects the wide range in strengths and challenges across all individuals with autism.
What is Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA)?
Applied Behaviour Analysis is the scientific study of behaviour that focuses on identifying the environmental variables that influence and maintain behaviour and applying these principles to change behaviour of social significance. The principles of ABA are essential in the treatment of autism, but what many don’t know is that ABA is used in fields well beyond autism such as; Organizational Behaviour Management, Marketing, Education, Gambling, Sports, Addictions, to name a few.
How is ABA beneficial for individuals with autism?
Practitioners utilize the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis to develop individualized intervention plans for individuals with autism. These principles are used to increase and strengthen targeted skills as well as decreasing challenging behaviours. The use of ABA with individuals with autism is an evidence-based practice.
What does ‘evidence-based practice’ mean?
In order for a treatment approach to be considered ‘evidence-based’ the approach must have empirical evidence/research that supports the validity of that treatment. There is an extensive body of research that supports the effectiveness of Applied Behaviour Analysis as a treatment for individuals with autism.
What is the difference between ABA and IBI?
Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) is the scientific study of behaviour that focuses on the relationship between variables in the environment and their impact on behaviour. Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) is the application of ABA principles. In other words, IBI uses ABA principles in an intensive therapeutic approach for children with autism. These two terms are often used interchangeably and as a result can be quite confusing. In 2000, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) adapted the term IBI when they began providing funding for children with autism. In 2018, the MCCSS dropped the term IBI and now uses only the term ABA.
Who can provide ABA services?
Many states in the U.S. have made it law that individuals providing ABA services must be licensed. Unfortunately, in Canada we do not yet have any regulations or restrictions on who can offer these services. Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of the parents to try and determine who is qualified to work with their child. This can be a difficult task. As parents research service providers for their child, one question that should always be asked is ‘who is supervising the program?’. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services of Ontario stipulate that in order to receive funding, an ABA program must be supervised by a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) or Psychologist. Regardless of whether a family is receiving funding or still waiting, this should be a standard all parents should require of their provider.
Reaching Beyond Autism, INC. is owned and operated by a BCBA with over 21 years experience working with children with autism, 10 of which have been as a BCBA.
Is data collection important?
Yes! At Reaching Beyond children’s ABA programs incorporate several different data collection systems depending on the goal of each program. Reliable data provides valuable information as to whether skills are being acquired and when revisions are needed. Instructor Therapists are trained on the importance of data collection and how to record useful, consistent and dependable data.
What is the difference between BCBA, BCaBA, RBT?
Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA®) – an individual with this credential has a minimum of a Master’s Degree in behaviour analysis or a related field which must include specific course work. Candidates must applied and be approved to write the BCBA exam. Once certified, the BCBA must maintain their certification by completing continuing education credits ever year.
Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA®) – an individual with this credential has a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in behaviour analysis or a related field. Candidates must applied and be approved to write the BCaBA exam. Once certified, BCaBA’s must maintain their certification by completing continuing education credits and must receive ongoing supervision by a BCBA.
Registered Behaviour Technician (RBT®) – an individual with this credential is primarily responsible for the direct implementation of ABA services. RBT’s must practice under the close supervision of a BCBA or BCaBA.
For more information and to review a list of certified BCBA’s, BCaBA’s and RBT’s visit: www.bacb.com
Is parent involvement important?
Yes! Parent participation is a very important component in a child’s ABA program. Parent meetings are held to review their child’s progress and discuss goals. Parents are taught to run generalization steps of their child’s programs which helps keep parents appraised of their child’s progress and supports generalization of newly acquired skills to novel people and environments. Parents play a vital role in the implementation of behaviour protocols and self-help skills as they are often implemented by the family and ABA team simultaneously to ensure consistency.
Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services
Ontario Autism Program (OAP)
Behavior Analyst Certification Board