Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy: An Overview

What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and how is it implemented at Greystone Programs?
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a systematic approach to impact socially significant behavior. Principals of learning and motivation are used to teach new skills or increase skills that will improve an individual’s quality of life. These same principals are used to decrease and eliminate problematic behaviors that impact an individual’s safety and help the individual to become an active part of their household and community. ABA is practical because it addresses how it’s possible to help an individual improve something in their daily life. ABA is data driven. Measurable goals are created in a variety of settings and decisions are made based on data.

ABA is most commonly associated with individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ABA is also implemented in general education, parent training, sports, substance abuse, feeding disorders, industrial safety and Organizational Business Management (OBM). 

Greystone Programs uses the guiding principles of ABA to address behaviors that are socially significant to those we serve. This includes teaching new skills and assessing the functional relationship between a challenging behavior and the environment. Interventions are developed in order to change events and consequences that control a targeted behavior.

Can the use of technology be used to apply ABA techniques?
Greystone Programs continues to explore the use of technology across programs. Data collection for both functional skills and challenging behaviors are recorded using Therap. Augmentative communication and routines are being created and followed in two of our houses using an app called Routine Factory. We are currently exploring apps that use task analyses and record data in real time. The goal is for individuals to be able to use supports such as iPads independently and not have to rely on a caregiver. Milo, a robot that facilitates lessons in emotional regulation and social skills, helps create an environment where lessons are taught consistently and data is captured in real time.

Can you share an example of ABA therapy success?
We had an individual move into a Greystone residence who was aversive to using the shower or bathtub. Using shaping, chaining and positive reinforcement, this person learned to take a bath and eventually found it to be a preferred activity. Through staff reinforcement of this skill, the individual now voluntarily gets items ready for a bath. 

There was another individual who did not want to participate in day program and most community activities. Through pairing, shaping, positive reinforcement and mand training, this person is now attending day program and community activities. With COVID-19, their newly founded routine was interrupted when day programs and community outings were put on hold. However, we are now using the same ABA principles to help this person transition back into their day program.

For more information about Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), please contact:
Elizabeth Carino, M.S., BCBA, LBA
(845) 452-5772 Ext. 134
ecarino@greystoneprograms.org

About Greystone Programs
Celebrating 41 years of excellence, Greystone Programs is dedicated to supporting children, adults and families living with autism and other developmental disabilities by enriching lives one person at a time. Established in 1979 by Marc W. Kelley, Greystone offered the first privately run residence in New York State for people living with autism. Today, Greystone offers exceptional services and life-enriching opportunities for more than 600 children, adults and families living with autism and developmental disabilities in five Hudson Valley counties. To learn more, visit https://greystoneprograms.org/ or follow the organization on social media.