When people think of ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) they often think of behaviors and autism. That is true, but is not all of what ABA is about. ABA can provide parent education and help individuals with their fine motor, gross motor, adaptive, and play skills. ABA can also help individuals generalize their skills across different environments whether its at home, the clinic, or even at school. ABA can be implemented anywhere. There are a few ABA principles that should be implemented at school or at home.
Function of Behavior
Have you ever wondered why an individual is acting a certain way? That could be narrowed down to four simple functions: attention, escape, sensory, and tangible. In order to help prevent a behavior you must first understand why that behavior is occurring.
- Attention: An individual desires access to social interactions.
- Escape: An individual wants to get away from an undesirable situation.
- Sensory: A certain movement or action feels good to that individual.
- Tangible: An individual wants access to a preferred item or activity.
Reinforce behaviors you like! For example, if a student raises their hand instead of screaming, reinforce that behavior immediately, whether it is with a preferred item or verbal praise. Let that student know you are proud of them for raising their hand. By reinforcing the child for raising their hand every time, it will soon turn into a habit and you will see screaming decrease.
Every student learns differently whether they are auditory, visual, or tactile learners. Having a visual and verbally telling students instructions will help them understand what is expected. As everybody says, a picture is worth a thousand words. Having a visual will allow students to reference back to that visual when they are uncertain.
The Premack principle
The Premack principle in simple terms is a “First, Then” statement. For example, “First we write, Then we draw.” The premack principle will reinforce the less desirable behavior with the more desirable behavior, which can prevent challenging behaviors from occurring. You must remember to always follow through with the demand! Even if that requires you to model or guide them on what to do. By following with the demand you are teaching the individual that they can trust you.
In the end we must always remember to be positive and patient. Learning new skills or changing a behavior takes time. With these few tricks, it can help educators understand their students actions and help encourage them to grow and succeed.