Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a behavioral therapy used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), a condition that causes hyperactivity and impacts a child’s ability to pay attention, control impulsive behavior, and exhibit self-control.
Behavioral therapy is a proven treatment methodology for helping children with ADHD manage their behavior and improve their skills. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends parent training in behavior management as the first ADHD treatment for children under six years of age, and behavior therapy is part of the accepted treatment plan for adolescents and their parents as well.
The CDC recommends behavior therapy as a means of teaching children and their families how to reduce or eliminate unwanted behaviors and strengthen beneficial behaviors. Behavior therapy helps improve a child’s self-control, self-esteem, and overall behavior.
ADHD causes behavioral issues, which makes day-to-day life difficult. Individuals with ADHD struggle with inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
In a child, this commonly looks like this:
- Trouble with finishing daily chores or tasks
- Struggling to stay organized and find needed items
- Difficulty with waiting their turn in play and conversations
- Struggling to follow directions
- Appearing not to be listening when spoken to
Symptoms can vary depending on the child and whether the child has mild, moderate, or severe ADHD symptoms.
ADHD is a chronic condition that cannot be cured, however, ABA therapy helps children with ADHD learn how to live with their condition and function in the best possible way, improving their daily lives.
Children with ADHD can exhibit behaviors that cause disruptions in school and at home. This commonly results in negative responses to the child, discouraging them from improving the negative behavior. ABA therapy teaches and reinforces positive behaviors and eliminates negative behaviors, improving social and emotional skills. ABA therapy helps a child learn to manage their condition and address certain behaviors that affect their daily lives.
In ABA therapy, a therapist evaluates and determines how much positive and negative reinforcement a child needs. This information helps parents, teachers, and other caregivers understand how to respond most appropriately to the child so that they can best help them achieve the desired behavior.
Parents of a young child with ADHD are educated in behavior modification techniques by a trained ABA therapist, while an older child with ADHD works directly with an experienced ABA therapist.
There are several ABA strategies therapists use to create positive and functional behaviors in children with ADHD to increase success in their daily lives.
With this technique, the therapist uses positive reinforcement to indicate appropriate target behavior and to show an improvement in behavior. There is no reward or negative reinforcement when negative behavior occurs.
With this approach, therapists take complex negative behaviors and break them down into smaller elements for the child to work on. The smaller elements of the larger behavior are then positively reinforced, helping the child slowly build up toward the desired behavior.
This technique is used with older children. The therapist works to teach a child self-awareness and self-praise to help them learn how to manage their problematic behaviors. Self-Management Training is about internalizing the techniques of ABA so that the child can apply the techniques on their own.
Pivotal Response Training is a play-based therapy technique designed to improve behavior, social, and communication skills. Motivation strategies are neutral and related directly to the behaviors which the child exhibits.
ADHD is a chronic condition resulting from significant differences in a child’s brain chemistry, meaning it cannot be “trained out” of a child. However, ABA therapy is tremendously helpful for a child with ADHD, as the positive reinforcement training helps make positive actions the child’s natural response. Additionally, ABA therapy can reduce a child’s need for medication later in life.
At Award Behavioral Health, our ABA programs are designed and monitored by our team of qualified and trained behavior analysts.
If you think ABA therapy could help your child manage their ADHD/ADD diagnosis, contact Award Behavioral Health for a consultation.
To schedule an appointment, call us at (800) 249-9569 or contact us online.