Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Welcome to Alma Family Services. Thank you for choosing Alma Family Services to help you address your child’s/client’s concerns and allow us to provide training to you and your family. We look forward to working with you and your family to address your child’s needs. Alma Family Services provides behavior intervention services using the principles of behavior analysis in the home/community setting, otherwise known as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in an effort to enhance the quality of life of your children with developmental disabilities.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) improves the quality of life by addressing socially significant behaviors that interfere with their learning, the learning of others, interferes with social relationships, involvement in the community, and/or may cause harm to self or others. The ultimate goal of ABA is to reduce challenging behaviors and teach life-long functional, social, self-help, and communication skills to maximize strengths through evidence-based practices.

Our philosophy is to maintain professional and ethical relationships, while ensuring cultural sensitivity in addressing each family’s needs.  Our goal is to assist the family as a whole while working with the child/client and taking a “whatever it takes” approach. The intervention programs are designed to assist the client while empowering the parents/caregivers to implement the techniques learned long after services have ended.

WHAT IS ABA?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the science that utilizes intervention strategies based on the principles of behavior analysis (such as reinforcement, extinction, shaping, etc) to change socially significant behaviors. Some behaviors ABA focuses on are aggression, tantrums, self-injurious behaviors, while teaching functional communication, social adaptive, and self-help skills, etc.

Critical factors in our ABA programs are the application of behavior principles which include identifying and modifying antecedents that occur before the behavior(s) and the consequences following the behaviors, to affect the change in the behavior(s) and increase the skills being taught.

Our services are used across a variety of behaviors and not just those with  disabilities. We apply behavior analytic principles across various populations such as autism, developmental delays, intellectual disabilities, ADHD, diagnosed, individuals with learning disabilities, etc- wherever behaviors exist we can help.

OUR SERVICES

Functional Behavior Assessments (FBA)

The initial process in determining the level of services required is to conduct an FBA. This process identifies the function maintaining your child’s behavior (the reason why the behavior(s) is happening). During the FBA process, the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) works with you and your family to identify the variables that are maintaining /keeping the behaviors present. Through a series of questionnaires, interviews, screening tools, observations, data collection, and functional analysis, the BCBA determines the function of the behavior (why the behavior is happening) and creates an intervention plan to address the behaviors and address the functional skills needed. The FBA also addresses parent goals to teach the parents the skills to utilize outside of sessions.

Intensive Behavior Services

In-home behavior intervention services are used for cases in which the interfering behaviors are of high intensity and frequency and require direct 1:1 intervention from a professional with the ultimate goal of transferring skills to the client’s family. This includes safety concerns, reduction of high frequency/severity behaviors, teaching functional and replacement behaviors, etc. Behavior Technicians work directly with the client to gain instructional control and establish routines in working towards their assessment goals. Parents will be active participants in the program and will learn the principles of behavior analysis that will assist them when this service is faded out. The services are provided in the home and/or community setting, wherever the behavior(s) occur(s) the most.

Non-Intensive Behavior Services (Parent Training/Consultation)

Parent training/consultation services are based on the Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) and provided to parents/caregivers in the home setting to implement the recommended behavior treatment plan. This service is provided for the parent/caregiver in the presence of the child/client to reduce identified behaviors. This service is provided in the home and/or community, wherever the behavior(s) occur(s) the most.

School Based Services

In-school services are available upon request from the school district to assist the child/client during school hours. Behavior technicians would attend school with the individual to address any behaviors and increase educational and socialization performance.

Group Parent Training

Parent training is provided in a group setting at one of our facilities. The parent training classes are split into a series of 3-4 classes and are led by a BCBA. The parent trainings focus on teaching parents to identify the antecedents and consequences of behavior(s), identify functions of behavior(s), address the behavior(s) based on the function, reinforcement, extinction, shaping, prompting, and incidental teaching.

Supervision Services

Supervision is expected and provided to all of our ABA staff. Our staff receives the most professional, ethical, and up to date supervision possible to ensure they are fully prepared and trained to work with families and colleagues, alike. Behavior Technicians receive weekly supervision (individual case by case) by a BCBA, receive continuous support and in-services to assist in their development. The supervision hours meet the minimal standards under the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (www.bacb.com).

Collaboration with Mental Health Services

Alma Family Services understands the importance our services are for our clients with special needs; however we also understand the importance having services available for our client’s family is as well. Alma Family Services offers a wide range of additional services such as Mental Health Services, Counseling and Therapeutic Behavioral Services (TBS), as well as Psychiatric Services and support. Our ABA department works collaboratively with our other departments to ensure our clients and their families are receiving as much support as necessary.

RESEARCH

There are a number of studies supporting the efficacy of Applied Behavior Analysis as an intervention for challenging behaviors and skill building. A number of these studies support ABA as an effective intervention for Autism and other developmental disabilities as well. Below find a selection of some of these studies.

  • Bondy, A.S., & Frost, LA. 1994. The picture exchange communication system. Focus on Autistic Behavior, (August), 9(3), 1-19.
  • Charlop-Christy, M.H., Carpenter, M., Le, L., Leblanc, L.A., & Kellet, K. 1999. Using the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) with children with autism: Assessment,
  • Cohen, H., Amerine-Dickens, M. & Smith, T. 2006. Early intensive behavioral treatment: Replication of the UCLA model in a community setting. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 27(2), 145-155.
  • Collaborative Work Group on Autistic Spectrum Disorders. 1997. Best Practices for Designing and Delivering Effective Programs for Individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Sacramento, California: California Departments of Education and Developmental Services.
  • Lovaas, O.I. 1987. Behavior treatment and normal educational and intellectual functioning in young autistic children. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 55, 3-9.
  • Lovaas, O.I. & Smith, T. 1989. A comprehensive behavioral theory of autistic children: Paradigm for research and treatment. Journal of Behavioral Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 20, 17-29.
  • Lovaas, O.I. 1993. The development of a treatment-research project for developmentally disabled and autistic children. Journal of Applied Behavioral Analysis, 26(4), 617-630.
  • McEachin, J.J., Smith, T. & Lovaas, O.I. 1993. Long term outcome for children with autism who received early intensive behavioral treatment. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 97, 359-372.
  • Bergstrom, R., Najdowski, A. C., Alvarado, M., & Tarbox, J. 2016. Teaching children with autism to tell socially appropriate lies, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, DOI: 10.1002/jaba.295.

BOOKS

  • Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. & Heward, W. 2007. Applied Behavior Analysis. 2nd Ed. Columbus, OH: Merrill.
  • Fovel, J.T. 2002. The ABA Program Companion: Organizing quality programs for children with autism and PDD. New York, NY: DRL Books.
  • Leaf, R. & McEachin, J. 1998. A Work in Progress: Behavior management strategies and a curriculum for intensive behavioral treatment of autism. New York: Different Roads to Learning.
  • Lovaas, O.I. 2000. Teaching Individuals with Developmental Delays: Basic intervention techniques. Austin, TX: PRO-ED.
  • Maurice, Catherine, Green, Gina & Luce, Stephen C. 1996. Behavioral Intervention for Young Children with Autism – A manual for parents and professionals. Austin, TX: PRO-ED