Behavioral therapy is an important part of treatment for autism spectrum disorders. It can help decrease disability and improve a person’s ability to function. Behavioral therapy can also help people with autism spectrum disorders learn skills that other therapies may not teach, such as social skills and communication.
When providing behavioral therapy, the goal is to improve or change behavior. The therapist uses positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior. Positive reinforcement involves giving a reward when the desired behavior occurs. An example of positive reinforcement used in behavioral therapy for autism spectrum disorders is to give praise for completing a task correctly. Rewards should be given immediately after the desired behavior occurs. This helps reinforce the desired behavior so it will happen more often. Rewards should be given consistently and frequently at first, then less often as the behavior becomes more common. Over time, rewards are phased out and behaviors are maintained without them (known as extinction).
Behavioral therapies are the cornerstones of treatment for autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is one of the most common types of behavioral therapy.
There’s no known cure for ASD. However, research suggests that early intervention treatment services can improve a child’s development, particularly when applied consistently and intensively. In particular, behavioral interventions can help children gain self-care, social and communication skills.
Behavioral therapy for children with ASD ranges from highly structured teaching techniques to less formal approaches. Each addresses different aspects of behavior and may be used in various combinations.
Behavioral therapy is designed to help people with ASD develop the skills that they need to live as independently as possible. There is no set length of treatment—some patients will continue with behavioral therapy their entire lives, while others may only need it during certain stages of development.
Behavioral therapy can teach new skills to help people with ASD communicate and interact more effectively. It can also help decrease the severity of challenging behaviors, like aggression or self-injury.
Behavioral therapy is typically delivered one-on-one by a therapist trained in teaching children with ASD. It’s usually done in short sessions throughout the week, which may last up to several hours but are often less than 30 minutes. Over time, therapists generally try to increase the length of individual sessions and reduce their frequency.
There are two main types of behavioral therapy: applied behavior analysis (ABA) and developmental, individual differences, relationship-based (DIR) model. Each approaches autism differently but has similar goals: learning new skills and reducing problem behaviors.
Some of the most effective therapies for Autism Spectrum Disorders are behavioral. These therapies seek not only to improve the child’s behavior, but also to teach them skills that will help them be successful in a variety of different situations.
Behavioral therapies also make it easier for parents and other caregivers to redirect behaviors that might otherwise be problematic. By changing how you respond to certain behaviors, you can help your child learn more appropriate ways of behaving.
For more information about how you can use behavioral therapy with your child, it’s important to talk to a professional therapist or teacher who is familiar with autism spectrum disorders.