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5 Developmental Delays Treated with Applied Behavior Analysis

How Applied Behavior Analysis Helps Children With These Five Developmental Delays

  • Developmental Coordination Disorder
  • Language Disorders
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder
  • Autism

Parents wondering about how to help their child with a disability should review these five developmental delays treated with applied behavior analysis. Although applied behavior analysis was originally developed for use in people with autism spectrum disorder, it can also help other children as well as adults who exhibit negative behaviors and need positive reinforcement to change those behaviors into positive ones. Here are five types of developmental delays that could benefit from applied behavior analysis therapy.

Related resource: Top 25 Master’s in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Online

1. Developmental Coordination Disorder

Children with developmental coordination disorder lack both the fine and gross motor skills of typically-developing children of the same age. A child with this disorder might have trouble pulling on their pants, holding a crayon or bringing a spoon to their mouth. They appear clumsy or shaky in their movements. Applied behavior analysis encourages an improvement in motor skills by reducing the child’s stress and anxiety about their bodies. It also improves the child’s self-esteem.

2. Language Disorders

Language disorders include a child’s difficulty with understanding speech or speech patterns and difficulty with a child’s ability to create their own speech that can be understood by other people. Applied behavior analysis can be used on all types of speech and language delays. Children often get frustrated when they cannot understand someone or when others do not understand them. The applied behavior analysis helps children work through the frustration, slow down and focus on making themselves understood. This type of therapy should be started as soon as a child’s parents or caregivers recognize a speech or language delay.

3. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder includes a variety of problem behaviors that can be disruptive to the learning experience and to a child’s everyday life at home. Some of the problem behaviors associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder include wandering around a classroom, fidgeting and blurting out answers. Applied behavior analysis helps a child learn how to wait their turn and how to control their urges to fidget or move about their environment.

4. Antisocial Personality Disorder

Children with antisocial personality disorder either avoid social contact or cause conflict in their social relationships. Applied behavior analysis may help a child decrease problem behaviors in social relationships. For example, the therapy sessions may help children be more accepting of certain types of social contact, such as playing in a sandbox next to another child. Applied behavior analysis provides verbal encouragement to a child when they have a positive interaction with another person.

5. Autism

According to Autism Speaks, applied behavior analysis therapy helps people on the autism spectrum disorder by decreasing problem behaviors. Some typical problem behaviors include arm flapping, skin picking, and rocking. With applied behavior analysis, a child with autism can learn how to increase behaviors that are helpful and decrease those that are not helpful. The therapist provides praise and verbal rewards for good behaviors. The therapist also teaches parents and caregivers how to provide positive reinforcement.

Helping a child with developmental delays takes a lot of resources, time and patience. Parents and caregivers should keep in mind that techniques, such as applied behavior analysis, do not deliver instantaneous results. Each of these five developmental delays treated with applied behavior analysis benefits from early intervention and at least 20 hours per week of intensive therapy during a child’s elementary school years.