How Reinforcers Help Autistic Children Learn & Interact Effectively
ABA therapy improves the behavior and grasping power of autistic children via strategic applications of reinforcers. The therapeutic measures that comprise ABA can work both ways. You can effectively train them to catch up with good behaviors while also being able to stop socially unacceptable behaviors.
How to Help Autistic Children Learn More Effectively
To do so, expert therapists start by including basic learning principles into their therapy sessions. For instance, you can set up specific environmental situations, which experts call antecedents, to determine a specific behavior. As they start adopting the intended behaviors, you will need to reinforce them. You can expect that behavior to repeat in the future till it sticks permanently.
Dr. Skinner’s Findings On Reinforced Behavior
The inception of ABA therapy hearkened back to the times of a renowned psychologist named BF Skinner. Dr. Skinner studied how human behavior can be altered by positive reinforcement. In his research, he scientifically deduced how living beings learned from the consequences of behavior. Reinforced behavioral traits tend to rewire our brains and turn into normal behavior. He also found that behavior that is not reinforced will disappear over time.
If you carefully observe Skinner’s studies, you will be surprised how common it is in our daily lives. The whole process of reinforced learning starts from the time we learn to talk, walk, and avoid dangerous elements such as fire since we were kids. Parents train their kids repetitively out of love without recognizing the scientific effects those practices have on children’s neurotic systems. Reinforcers are basically the results of the rewards or outcomes of our own behaviors.
For instance, recompensing your child for cleaning up his room with something he wanted for a long time is a positive reinforcer. Encouraging children tells the child that the initial difficulties you face in life are worth the risk. These are basically at-home aba therapy techniques that responsible parents practice.
This means ABA therapy simply elaborates such methods in scrupulous ways until each child struggling with autism reaches new milestones and develops the habits they will need to live a full life as an adult.
How ABA Therapists Apply reinforcers
There are different principles of behavior and learning strategies that experts use to elicit the behavior you’re looking for.
Let’s start with an example training session. Suppose that you are trying to help a child learn colors. The objective here is to teach and get them to realize which one is red among many other different colored objects. If they keep picking the yellow one again and again instead of red, you may move the red object a little bit closer to them. This would be one type of prompt that you could use. Finally, when they pick the red object, you could give them some kind of reinforcer. It could be praise, a high five, or something that they like such as a candy.
The next time that you ask them the same question, they would be able to give the correct answer.
However, you must know this process might take weeks to show results. Parents may feel frustrated about not being able to understand what their kid wants. They may not have the time and expertise to practice these little steps with their kids. If you decide to take on this responsibility, you need to work hard and patiently to get your child to understand how to learn and interact with the world.
ABA therapists are knowledgeable and have the time for one-on-one therapy. They can help autistic children learn. They can even get to where they need to be, which almost seemed impossible before ABA existed.