5 Ways Technology is Used in Applied Behavior Analysis

Experienced therapists who work with adults and children who have special needs know that there are five ways technology is used in applied behavior analysis. Applied behavior analysis, or ABA, helps to reinforce positive behaviors in people on the autism spectrum and others with special needs. Today, technology helps ABA therapists accomplish the goal of helping their clients live fulfilling lives. Look at five ways technology is used in applied behavior analysis.

Touch Screen Tablet

During an ABA session, a therapist may use a touch screen tablet to enhance communication with a client. For instance, a non-verbal child with autism can use a touch screen tablet to answer questions from a therapist. The child can touch a picture, a word or a phrase to demonstrate that he or she understands and can answer a question. Also, a touch screen tablet can be used for sequencing or matching exercises given by an ABA therapist. Showing a client an image on a touch screen tablet can contribute to the person’s learning experience.

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Computer Apps

There are dozens of computer apps used by ABA therapists to serve their clients. For example, a therapist may download an app that teaches a young child the steps of washing his or her hands. Or, a therapist may use an app to teach a child with special needs how to count money. Other apps can teach children how to tell time, how to brush their teeth, how to play a particular game or how to work a math problem. Computer apps use images, words and sounds to teach and/or reinforce a lesson taught during ABA therapy.

Assistive Communication Device

Many types of assistive communication devices are available to ABA therapists and their clients. A therapist may use one with prerecorded messages that the client can access to enhance communication. Also, a therapist can use this type of device to convey a statement that involves the words, if and then. Oftentimes this communication technology is used as a stepping stone for clients who have some level of language, but are capable of acquiring more. It can help a child or adult with special needs avoid frustration and make an ABA therapy session go more smoothly.

DVD Player

An ABA therapist may use a DVD player during a potty training lesson. For instance, a DVD may feature a child who goes through the steps of using the bathroom. A therapist can use a DVD as a guide to reinforce the steps of this process. An ABA therapist may also use a DVD player while teaching a client how to act in a particular social situation or how to behave when playing a game. A DVD player is a visual tool that helps a special needs child grasp what a therapist is trying to convey.

Digital Timer

Though this technology is simple it’s one of five commonly used in applied behavior analysis. A therapist may set a digital timer each time a client takes a break. This lets a special needs child or adult know that each break will last for a specific amount of time. Alternatively, a therapist may use a digital timer while a client completes a picture schedule. Each activity on the picture schedule lasts for just two or three minutes. When the timer goes off it serves as a signal that it’s time to move on to another activity.

Related Resource: Top 10 Best Applied Behavior Analysis Online Programs

All of these items can benefit a person with special needs. Furthermore, knowing at least five ways technology is used in applied behavior analysis can make the work of a therapist all the more effective.