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Ever wondered how Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) programs are developed for children? Over the next three weeks, we will talk about the steps to develop an ABA program for a learner. Week 1, we will talk about the role of assessment. Week 2, we will focus on socially significant behaviours. And in week 3, we will talk about defining the behaviours so that they can be measured and monitored.
Part 1: ABA and Assessments
In ABA, assessment allows the team to identify target behaviours (the things we want to see more of) and to develop the necessary interventions. While each child and family is unique, there are four different methods for how this is down. Methods for obtaining assessment information include: interviews, behavioural checklists, direct observation, and tests. When we’re assessing we’re looking at skills and barriers in the environment to learning.
Here are some examples different strategies that may be used:
Interviewing – interviewing the key adults in the child’s life, including: parents, family members, carers, teachers, community members and sometimes the child. This help us narrow down what the priorities and 1-3 target behaviours for intervention.
Checklist– There are a range of checklists the team can use to collect baseline information on the child. For example the VB-Mapp (which looks at verbal behaviours) and adaptive behaviour (which looks at daily living skills) measures. This give us more quantitative and qualitative information about specific behaviours.
Direct Observation – observing the child in his/her natural environment including home, school, day care, community settings (i.e. church, parties, etc). So much can be learned about what is happening by just watching. The observation by a Program Manager (BCBA or a BCaBA) is invaluable in understanding challenging behaviour and working out next steps.
Test – Testing or probing the behaviour or skills by a Program Manager (BCBA or BCaBA), or using Functional Assessment techniques can help narrow down what is happening with complex or challenging behaviours.
Assessment is a really critical step for understanding a child and setting the foundations in place for a good therapy program. Our program managers like to bring what they have learned to parents to start a conversation about behaviours and strategies. The goal is always to increase “socially significant” behaviours in a child…something that will talk a bit more about next time!
As always you are very welcome to contact the team for support on 9274 7062.
Program Manager, ABACAS