What is behaviour analysis and why do we use it?
Behaviour analysis is a scientific approach to understanding behaviour
and how it is affected by the environment. “Behaviour”
refers to all kinds of actions and skills (not just misbehaviour) and ‘environment” includes all sorts of physical and social events that might change or be changed by one’s behaviour.
The science of behaviour analysis focuses on principles (that is, general laws) about how behaviour works, or how learning takes place. For example, one principle of behaviour analysis is positive reinforcement. When a behaviour is followed by something that is valued (a “reward”) that behaviour is likely to be repeated.
Through decades of research, the field of behaviour analysis has developed many techniques for increasing useful behaviours and reducing those that may be harmful or that interfere with learning. Applied behaviour analysis (ABA)
is the use of those techniques and principles to address socially important problems, and to bring about meaningful behavioural change –
Source: Autism Speaks
As Jenny Buckle (mother to autistic triplets) once said to me, when you and I go fishing we generally enjoy the company of others and if we were to catch a fish it would be great but it isn’t really the point of the trip, however for an autistic person its “all about catching the fish”.
Spectrum children are very goal orientated and therefore the best way to teach a child is to break down the task into smaller components and to ensure that the child is successful each step of the way as each response results in a positive reinforcement. Therefore children thrive in an ABA environment as they are continually successful and at the same time continue to learn new skills.
At the Centre we are very conscious about merely teaching children robotic responses
and therefore all skills are generalised and also repeated in the “natural environment” to ensure the skill has been transferred from the table to the playground and home.