When we hear the term applied behavior analysis (ABA), we often think of autism spectrum disorder because ABA is used to treat autistic patients, but many other conditions also benefit from applied behavior analysis. ABA is a type of therapy used to treat and improve certain behaviors, such as communication, social skills, poor academics and similar psychological disorders. ABA is used on both adults and children and in various settings, including homes, school, clinics, and workplaces. Here are some conditions that benefit from applied behavior analysis.
Related resource: Top 25 Online Master’s in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Patients who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are generally hyperactive and have difficulty concentrating and controlling impulsive behaviors. With the help of a good ABA therapist, the patient may still have ADHD but with reduced symptoms. The therapist helps ADHD patients by teaching patients how to calmly and consciously focus on their bodies and to stop and think about what they’re about to do before they do it. Rather than punishing the child after the inappropriate action, ABA teaches the child to think about it first and find an appropriate alternative. It also uses a reward system for good and thoughtful behavior.
Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Autism is a condition that involves communication problems. Although autism can vary in severity, it almost always results in communication behaviors and with the autistic patient not able to communicate correctly. They also have a stronger sensitivity to touch, smell, sight, hearing, and taste. When in unfamiliar surroundings, the autistic patient may get extremely agitated and not behave appropriately. Because of the communication difficulties common with autistic patients, the individual cannot express displeasure in an understandable manner. ABA therapists are able to help autistic patients to refrain from inappropriate behavior and communicate in ways that others can understand. Psychology Today reports that when used at least 20 hours per week, ABA can be very successful with autistic patients.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Although we all believe we suffer a little from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), not all of us need treatment. Patients with real OCD experience an obsession, not necessarily real, that they must perform a certain compulsive action to avoid something bad from happening. For instance, an individual might believe that something negative will happen if every shoe in the closet is not facing the same direction. ABA specialists work with OCD patients and help them not just overcome the compulsive behavior but determine where and when the obsession originated. They also teach the patient that bad things will not result from not doing a certain thing in a certain way.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
While we think of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has a condition exclusive to war veterans, it actually occurs in many other individuals if they been involved in traumatic events. The PTSD patient may feel extreme panic and anxiety when certain stimuli triggers the painful memories of the original even. ABA therapists work with PTSD patients by triggering the memories for the patient but in supportive and controlled environments. They also teach them how to exhibit positive behaviors when they have the memories triggered.
Applied behavior analysis is a successful method of therapy because it’s based on proven theories about behavior and learning. Whether an individual is interested in learning more about ABA or is close to someone in need of the therapy, it’s important to realize that ABA is not just for autism. Many conditions can benefit from applied behavior analysis and the services of a qualified ABA therapist.