Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder, which can affect every realm of a child’s development. It is generally characterized by significant impairments in language, communication, social relatedness and academic skills, as well as the presence of challenging behaviors that can interfere not only with learning but with normal functioning within the family and the community.
Research has demonstrated, however, that objectively-validated methodologies are available to begin to meet the challenges posed by this unique disorder. The proper implementation of such strategies can result in a greatly improved prognosis for the quality of life for the individual with autism and his or her family.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a scientifically validated approach to addressing the learning and behavioral issues presented by students with autism. Tasks and skills are broken down into component parts as necessary and presented to the student in a manner that maximizes success in the learning experience, utilizing systems of positive reinforcement. Skills acquired are presented across a variety of stimuli and settings, and data are recorded to determine whether and under what circumstances each student best learns. Teaching techniques are regularly modified to reflect the student’s demonstrated learning behavior, and thus to ensure continued learning.