How is ABA Therapy used in a Therapeutic Preschool Program?

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is widely used as a treatment for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). While there are other treatment methods for autism and related disorders, ABA therapy is evidence-based, can be used in many different settings, and can be customized for the unique abilities and needs of every child. Throughout the therapeutic process, the therapist will collect data to determine the function of specific behaviors. This allows the therapist to determine how different environments affect behaviors. This is an important step in building positive behaviors and developmental skills throughout ABA therapy sessions. One way that a therapist can help a child build these skills is by using positive reinforcement when the child exhibits the desired behaviors.

Since ABA therapy can be used with children from an early age, these strategies might be incorporated in a therapeutic preschool program. A therapeutic preschool program is designed to provide additional support to children who experience autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or related disorders, as well as developmental delays. While a typical preschool is primarily designed with a typically developing child in mind, a therapeutic preschool will provide additional resources for services, such as ABA therapy, feeding therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy.

What skills does ABA focus on?
There are different ways that ABA therapy can be helpful in a therapeutic preschool program, especially for children with autism who exhibit challenging behaviors. Some of the domains that ABA therapy target include communication and language, cognitive skills, play skills, and social skills. During the ABA session, the therapist will work with the child to build these skills by using positive reinforcement. By learning that certain behaviors lead to positive results, the goal is that the child will continue to exhibit those behaviors and learn to generalize those skills.

ABA can be customized
ABA therapy does not have one set formula for all individuals. In fact, this method can be tailored to fit the needs of a wide range of children with autism. Therefore, ABA therapy can certainly be worked into a therapeutic preschool program. In any program, you will find a great diversity of learners in the classroom, so it is important to consider the unique abilities and needs of each child when creating a treatment plan for ABA therapy.

Family involvement
When you are working with young children in a therapeutic preschool program, the parents of the children will also likely be involved in treatment. The family may then express their own preferences about therapeutic strategies, including the ABA therapy component. While the staff of the therapeutic preschool program is the expert on the professional services, the parents are the experts on their children. They spend more hours each day with their children, so they can provide insight on certain behaviors. The parents will also be an important part of initial assessments.

If you think your child could benefit from ABA therapy in a therapeutic preschool program, click the purple button below or call 773-620-7800 to contact CST Academy and learn more about our program.