A degree in applied behavioral analysis prepares students to work with children who have autism to help them improve their lives. With an ABA degree, as a therapist, you can use the strengths of children with autism to build on what they can do and show them how to develop needed skills.
Children with autism may have trouble communicating with others and functioning in their environments, whether at home, school or in other social situations. Some children with autism start out non-verbal, while others only feel comfortable talking to certain people or in certain situations. They may also have trouble interpreting social cues and may be perceived as odd or rude by others.
Helping children in the fight against this debilitating condition
ABA therapist jobs combine aspects of psychology, social work, education, and organizational management into one comprehensive whole to help those with autism navigate their worlds more successfully. ABA involves certain implementing certain principles to accomplish this.
What is ABA Therapy?
The main principles of ABA therapy are discrete trial teaching and outcome-based decision-making as well as encouraging wanted behaviors while discouraging unwanted ones. By using these techniques, children with autism are systematically taught how to complete everyday tasks with which they struggle and acclimate to their environments better.
At times, ABA may resemble a play session, a tutoring session, or a counseling session—or aspects of all three. While many children with autism thrive on routines and repetition, there is also variety in working with different children, often with very different needs. Also, children’s needs will change over time as therapists work with them.
APA therapy can help parents extinguish unwanted behaviors, like throwing tantrums or purposely breaking things. It can also help parents prompt or encourage wanted behaviors, like hygiene, proper eating, or interacting with others—even particular social skills. Part of an ABA therapist’s job may include educating parents on how to use techniques to provide a more positive and consistent environment for their children.
An ABA Degree: Making a Difference in Children’s Lives
Children with autism are often highly intelligent, but extremely impaired in their functioning. ABA therapists can help children learn strategies that can help them function better so that they can eventually have productive lives and use their intelligence.
There is no doubt that ABA therapists have important jobs and make a huge difference in the lives of the children they work with. As researchers and medical professionals have learned more about autism, they have realized that therapies like ABA can help children learn to deal with their conditions and overcome the many challenges that those with autism face.
ABA degree graduates can also research developing more effective techniques and practices that will help children with autism optimize their functioning even more, or they can pursue advanced degrees that will allow them to supervise other therapists and develop their programs.
Florida Tech offers bachelor’s degrees in Applied Behavioral Strategies for students who want to work with children with autism and make a difference in their lives. Download the applied behavior analysis fact sheet to learn more.