What is Autism?

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting 1 in 70 Australians. Autism impacts a persons’ thinking, feeling, language, learning, and relationships. This commonly presents as problems with communication, learning, and social interactions. 

Autism is also a spectrum disorder. Because of this, no two individuals with autism present exactly the same. For this reason, autism interventions need to be tailored and comprehensive. Tailored interventions ensure that your loved one receives the right supports, for the right reason, at the right time in their life. A comprehensive intervention ensures support across all developmental domains.

Repetitive behaviours and sensory sensitivities are also common signs of autism. If you are concerned about a child’s behaviour or development, check out our Red Flags Chart (which lists common indicators) and talk to your GP. 

It’s also important to know that autism affects the whole family. Initially following diagnosis your focus will be on supporting your child. It will be on getting help to meet their developmental needs. But you will also need support. We highly recommend that parents and carers use our free resources. Download our How to Implement an ABA Training Program booklet. Watch our ABA videos. Listen to our podcasts. And importantly, enrol in a parent training course. All of these resources will upskill you to better support and communicate with your child. They will aid understanding of why your child thinks (and acts) in particularly ways. We also recommend you become an organisation member. Our annual membership provides access to ABA Connect, an online platform listing Australian ABA therapists and providers. Members also receive discounts on ABA training and events.

What is Applied Behaviour Analysis?

“Applied Behavior Analysis is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the improvement in behavior” (Baer, Wolf & Risley 1968).

Applied Behavioural Analysis is a branch of science concerned with the application of basic principles of behaviour and learning. The purpose of ABA is to solve socially important problems and teach functional life skills. ABA is a based upon the foundations and principles of behaviourism. Its roots can be traced back to psychologists like Ivan Pavlov in the late 19th century, and John B. Watson and B. F. Skinner in the mid-20th century.

As an autism-specific therapy, ABA was originally developed by Dr Ivar Lovaas.  As an early intervention treatment ABA is offered as a program.  

An ABA program is an instructional curriculum tailored specifically to meet the development and learning needs of your child. While 20 hours of intervention is commonly cited as the minimum number of required hours, the actual hours of intervention per week that each child receives is directly related to the child’s developmental needs and level of functioning. For example, a toddler who still needs a daily nap might start with 10 hours per week.

ABA is commonly provided in two ways: in the family home or at an autism centre; and primarily as a 1:1 intervention. Some Service Providers do offer group-based ABA and there may be times where your child will benefit from group-based intervention.  Learning or improving social skills is commonly taught in a group format.

To learn more about how ABA can support you and your child, download our How to Establish an ABA Program booklet.

Contact Us for further support