Sarah Winningham, MA, BCBA
Expert Name: Sarah Winningham, MA, BCBA
Expert Title: Director of Clinical Solutions
Company Name:  Special Learning, Inc.
Company URL: www.special-learning.com
Short Bio: Sarah Winningham, MA, BCBA is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst from Indiana. She received her Master?s degree in Special Education from Ball State University with certifications in Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism. Sarah has been working with students on the Autism Spectrum for almost 9 years. She has worked for three ABA centers as a therapist, trainer, clinical lead and clinical director. She is currently an adjunct member at Capella University teaching Master?s level ABA courses and developing Continuing Education and training materials for Special Learning.

ABA Therapy in the Home

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a well-recommended approach that you may use for your child diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Not only is it the most used and preferred by parents, providers and ABA therapists, it’s results are already proven to be an effective form of ABA intervention. It is endorsed by the National Institutes of Health and the Association for Science in Autism Treatment and by the Surgeon General of the United States.
 
ABA therapy is a framework of interventions that address most of the behavioral problems that you may be encountering with your diagnosed child. It will help in the development of his or her language, social and everyday living skills using positive reinforcements. If you consistently use ABA therapy over a period of time, you may see a significant improvement in your child’s social behaviors and lessening of challenging behaviors.
 
Parents, family members, and other care providers can use Applied Behavior Analysis techniques in the home setting. There are many products – such as Special Learning’s ABA Learning Kits – that can be used to apply the principles of ABA while engaging your child in fun activities. Research shows that early intervention for children with ASD has the highest chance of showing positive results. As parents are the first teachers of a child, their impact is considerable to their development, so parents are urged to learn how to implement ABA therapy accurately and effectively.
 
Here are several of the proven teaching tools that are used in ABA treatments: (Pear, 2003)
 
Discreet Trial Training
The goal is to make the child learn a desired behavior by giving clear instructions or prompts and then immediately reinforcing every correct response with a reward appropriate to the child’s interests. A gentle yet firm prompt is used to signal that the desired response was not achieved.
 
Pivotal Response Training
Pivotal Response Training targets crucial or pivotal skills that are basic elements of other skill sets. Its purpose is to help the child adapt or generalize the concepts learned in ABA therapy into everyday life. 
Incidental Teaching
Incidental Teaching is similar to Discreet Trial Training and uses the same basic techniques.  It differs in that it is applied incidentally as a child goes about his or her daily routine, helping the child learn many different behaviors and concepts in a single session rather than concentrating on only one.
 
Fluency Building
In Fluency Building a child is helped to build up a complex behavior by teaching each element of that task until it becomes automatic to the child. Standard ABA techniques of behavioral observation, reinforcement and prompting are used. A child is taught to do complex tasks by breaking the task down into its subcomponents, focusing on each element until it is mastered and then linking the fluent elements back together to form a complete mastered behavior.
A child diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder can have quality treatment in the child’s own home with the help of his or her parents, family members and care providers by using the right tools: the time-tested and proven techniques of Applied Behavior Analysis therapy.
 
References:  
Martin & Pear (2003). Behavior Modification: What is it and how to do it? (7th Ed.) . Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.