November 7, 2022

What is Applied Behavior Analysis?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an evidence-based therapy that utilizes the scientific understanding of learning and behavior. It benefits many children, including those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ABA aids in improving verbal and nonverbal communication skills, attention, focus, social skills, memory, and other adaptive behaviors while simultaneously decreasing maladaptive behaviors.

ABCs of Applied Behavior Analysis 

ABA programs focus on three behavioral concepts, the “ABCs,” to positively reinforce adaptive behaviors while decreasing the frequency of problem behaviors.

  • Antecedent: Otherwise known as a trigger, the antecedent occurs just before the behavior of interest, typically within 30 seconds. Antecedents that often provoke maladaptive behaviors are demands, decreased access to a preferred item or activity, and environmental stimuli.
  • Behavior: This is an action that occurs because of the antecedent. Behaviors may be desirable or undesirable. An ABA provider will define target behaviors and use consequences to decrease or increase the frequency of the behaviors.
  • Consequence: A consequence is something that occurs immediately as a result of the behavior. For instance, if a child always receives attention when they scream, then the behavior is screaming, and the consequence is the attention that the child receives. ABA providers will determine whether a consequence increases or decreases a behavior. They will then use that knowledge to help shape behaviors. In the above scenario, an ABA provider may give a child attention in response to a positive behavior in order to reinforce that behavior.

Does the School District have to Provide and Pay for ABA Therapy for Your Child?

The answer is possibly! It depends on your child’s needs and whether they need ABA therapy to access their education.  

Ways that Your Child Can Receive ABA Therapy

There are five ways your child could receive ABA therapy paid for by the school district:

1. Push-in ABA

Push-in ABA is where the school district has to pay for an independent provider from a private company to come and provide ABA therapy to your child throughout the school day.

2. Attending a private school that specializes in ABA.

These are schools that have either a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (“BCBA”) or any individual trained explicitly in ABA, like a licensed behavior analyst (“LBA”), on staff. These ABA-trained individuals work one-on-one with your child throughout the school day. 

3. Attending a private school that utilizes ABA-informed teaching.

These schools have staff trained in ABA who utilize the principles of ABA while teaching throughout the day. While there can be opportunities for your child to receive one-on-one ABA therapy, they may also receive it in smaller group settings instead.

4. Home-Based ABA

This is when an ABA provider comes to your child’s home, either after school or on the weekends, and provides additional ABA therapy.

5. Community-Based ABA

This is when an ABA provider takes your child around the community and uses ABA to work on skills relevant to living in the community, such as using ABA to help your child learn how to buy groceries.  

How to Enforce Your Child’s Right to Applied Behavioral Analysis

Start by requesting ABA therapy for your child at their Individualized Education Program (“IEP”) meeting. Be sure to explain why you believe that your child needs ABA services. 

Suppose the IEP team refuses to provide your child with ABA therapy. In that case, you should consider other options, such as requesting Mediation or filing a due process complaint against your school district.  

Keep in mind that the IEP team cannot refuse to provide ABA simply because they lack the funding, it is not offered in that school, or the provider at the school already has a full caseload. Even if the IEP team tries to claim that your child doesn’t need ABA therapy, this might not be true, and their denial may be a violation of your child’s rights under the law!  

Contact Our New York Special Education Lawyers Today

At Mizrahi Kroub, we believe that your child deserves an education that is designed to meet their needs and allows them to succeed. If you suspect that your child might need ABA services in school, contact us today by either filling out our online form or calling us at (212) 595-6200 to schedule a free consultation with our New York Special Education attorneys.

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