Why did we decide to implement Applied Behavior Analysis in our tool designed for persons who work with children with ASD?
According to an NAC report from 2015 (http://www.nationalautismcenter.org), 2/3 of established therapeutic interventions for patients with autism, that is, interventions with scientifically confirmed effectiveness, were based on behaviorism, and the remaining 1/3 were derived from behaviorism.
The report indicated clearly the direction we should take to create a modern tool for therapy and education.
Applied Behavior Analysis allows us not only to offer a system based on solid scientific foundations but also to trust in the effectiveness of the product we are giving you, as we have created it based on reliable, well-documented studies.
What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?
Behavior analysis is a science that can be divided into several branches:
1) Behaviorism, or a philosophical approach to the surrounding world;
2) Experimental Behavior Analysis, which focuses on identifying and analyzing the basic rules and processes behind human behavior;
3) Applied Behavior Analysis, which aims to solve socially significant issues using the rules and procedures of behavior analysis (Fisher, W., Piazza, C., & Roane, H., 2013).
Thus, ABA is one of three directions of action in behavior analysis.
So what is ABA in a nutshell?
ABA focuses on understanding and modifying behavior.
It involves learning new, socially significant skills.
How would we define ABA?
ABA is a science that researches the relationship between environment, behavior, and consequences. It is a scientific approach employed in order to change a given behavior, which is understood as both increasing and decreasing its frequency.
ABA is not used exclusively among children with ASD. It is also successfully used in business, sports, and personal development; in other words, ABA is an approach that lends itself well to application in many different disciples.
ABA in our technology
As the creators of ABA DrOmnibus, we base the therapeutic process provided by the app on universal rules of learning and techniques drawn from ABA. The fundamental features implemented in our tool include:
- Discrete Trial Training;
- A reinforcement system and a point system;
- A prompting mechanism.
What is Discrete Trial Training (DTT)?
Many children with autism are unable to learn skills in the same way as children who develop correctly. They also have difficulties in learning through observation, exploring their surroundings, or interactions with other people, including playing or talking (Smith, T., 2001).
DTT is a strategy of teaching employed as part of ABA. Research indicates that DTT is an effective method of teaching children with autism, and its effectiveness has made it one of the fundamental modes of treatment in behavioral therapy.
The principal procedure of DTT is as follows:
- A) The therapist provides a stimulus;
- B) The child responds to the stimulus;
- C) The consequence of the child’s behavior appears.
What is reinforcement and a token system?
By reinforcement, we mean an immediate change that follows a behavior, that is, either an increase or a decrease in the likelihood of the behavior re-occurring in future. Reinforcement can be divided into positive and negative. (Cooper et al., 2013)
ABA DrOmnibus is based exclusively on positive reinforcement. A behavior is followed by a positive consequence, which increases the frequency of that behavior in future.
Correct responses are reinforced by awarding a point (a positive consequence) during play. On the other hand, incorrect answers are not reinforced, that is, no points are awarded.
Once a child collects a set number of points, they will be given a set of extra reward games to choose whatever they like best from.
Thus, reinforcement in ABA DrOmnibus takes place through a token system. A child earns tokens for completing tasks and displaying the correct behavior (Hackenberg, T., 2009). The tokens are reinforcements that a child has learned by associating the act of collecting the tokens with receiving reinforcement (Suchowierska, M. et al., 2012).
The reinforcement system is also tied to another technology implemented in ABA DrOmnibus, whereby the voiced comments adjust to a child’s responses. For instance, the voice reacts very enthusiastically (providing a strong reinforcement) when a child successfully completes a task they previously had trouble with. On the other hand, if a child requires prompts, the voice is more neutral.
Prompts in ABA DrOmnibus
When designing therapeutic programs and interventions, it is extremely important to make them optimally effective and based on the very best methods of learning.
Effective teaching should enable a fast development of skills, high share of correct answers, high likelihood of a correct response and its reinforcement.
That is why behavioral therapy uses prompts. Prompts improve the likelihood that a child will respond correctly, thus improving the likelihood of reinforcement occurring (Fisher et al., 2013).
ABA DrOmnibus currently uses three types of prompts:
- Marking the correct element;
- A finger pointing to the correct element (model prompt);
- Enlarging the correct element.
If a child continues to give incorrect responses despite a series of prompts, the system starts only displaying a single element on the screen.
In other words, ABA DrOmnibus uses different stages of prompting, adjusting the prompts to a child’s responses in real-time. The reward system is also tied to the prompts: a child receives a token only if they give a correct answer without prompts. This helps to avoid the prompts becoming a reinforcement for the child.
Over 2000 children from the US, Poland, and many other countries worldwide already use ABA DrOmnibus.
Give our app a try!
Cooper, J. O., Heron, Timothy E., & Heward, William L. (2013). Applied Behavior Analysis Pearson New Internat edition by Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., Heward, W. L. (2013) Paperback (Pearson New Internat edition). Pearson Education Limited.
Fisher, W. W., Piazza, C. C., & Roane, H. S. (Eds.). (2013). Handbook of Applied Behavior Analysis (Reprint edition). The Guilford Press.
Hackenberg, T. D. (2009). Token Reinforcement: a Review and Analysis. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 91(2), 257–286. https://doi.org/10.1901/jeab.2009.91-257
Suchowierska, M., Ostaszewski, P., & Bąbel, P. (2012). Terapia behawioralna dzieci z autyzmem. Teoria, badania i praktyka stosowanej analizy zachowania [Behavioral therapy for children with autism. Theory, studies, and practice of Applied Behavior Analysis]. Sopot: Gdańskie Wydawnictwo Psychologiczne.
Smith, T. (2001). Discrete Trial Training in the Treatment of Autism. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 16(2), 86–92.