A key fundamental aspect of Applied Behavior Analysis lies in contingencies surrounded by positive reinforcement. Typical forms of positive reinforcement include preferred social praise, toys, games, snacks, stickers, etc.
Reinforcement is used in order to increase motivation for your child's learning and individual programming. Essentially, our initial goal is to assess what is most motivating for your child and then incorporate those items into their intervention plans and curriculum.
The final goal of any ABA program is to ensure that these motivating tools are faded out and replaced by the most natural rewards for that of a typically developing peer (e.g., social praise, stickers, allowance, etc.)
Teaching in small steps
Many skills that we, as parents or caregivers, don't often think about as complicated or difficult may need to be further broken down in order to effectively teach to a child. Part of ABA therapy is to systematically break down common skills (e.g., brushing teeth, cleaning up toys, getting dressed, etc.) into smaller skills in order to focus on each step required to complete the task as a whole.
For example, the task of 'washing hands' can be broken down into:
Turn on water
Get hands wet
Reach for soap
Turn off water
By breaking these skills down, we can more effectively teach the specific area that your child may need specialized care in learning.
Prompting is a technical way of explaining the different methods a therapist can use to encourage a learner from incorrect responding to correct responding.
For example, when calling a child's name to obtain eye contact, you may place your finger in front of your eyes as a prompt to shift their gaze.
It's important that a skill taught in a structured setting with a trained therapist should be programmed (by the BCBA) for generalization and maintenance. Ensuring that the child has several opportunities to demonstrate this skill throughout the days/weeks/months ahead will plan for maintenance of the skill.
Additionally,practicing the skill in a variety of settings (including school and home) will plan for generalization.