We are a private group of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) and highly trained, experienced Registered Behavior Technicians, and Speech and Language Pathologists located in Seekonk, Massachusetts. We believe that together, with families and others involved in a child’s care, we can affect positive connections throughout their support systems. Our language-based program relies heavily on the collaboration between a variety of providers from multiple disciplines. We also believe in the importance of community support and outreach, about the field of ABA, and related disciplines, as well as current research regarding autism and other diverse populations. We were founded in April 2014. Our founders share a common vision of what services should look like: individualized, positive, and effective. Since its foundation, Positive Synergy has grown with exactly that vision at heart, gaining several more members with the same mindset and a common goal of changing lives for the better.
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the improvement in behavior (Baer, Wolf & Risley, 1968; Sulzer-Azaroff & Mayer, 1991). ABA is the most widely used method of support for individuals diagnosed with autism.
Positive Synergy's ABA program is based on scientific principles and procedures of Applied Behavior Analysis. We provide a comprehensive ABA program utilizing a variety of strategies, such as Discrete Trial, Verbal Behavior, Natural Environment Teaching, Applied Verbal Behavior, Pivotal Response Training, and Behavior Modification programming. The programs are designed to develop and promote an individual curriculum to maximize the potential of every child. Curriculum and instruction is based on each individual's needs and is designed to enhance skills in all developmental domains.
ABA is used to help individuals acquire a variety of adaptive skills (play, social, communication, self-care, self-direction, leisure, functional academics, daily living skills, home and community skills,etc.). Additionally, ABA is used to reduce problematic or maladaptive behaviors (self-stimulatory behaviors, aggression, tantrums, etc.)
Verbal behavior is another term for language. Words are categorized into four different operants, or uses. ABA uses these functions of words to help motivate communication and language.
The four categories are:
1) Mands (think comMand) are used to ask for things, such as saying ‘ball’ when a child wants a ball.
2) Echoics are verbal imitations. Any verbal behavior that is repeated after hearing it.
3) Intraverbals are responses to another person’s verbal behavior, such as responding to greetings, questions, or full in the blanks (ex, reading or singing).
4) Tacts (think conTACT) are used to identify something that sensed by sight, smell, hearing, taste, or touch. For example, someone might say ‘train’ after hearing a train whistle.
All child’s sessions with vary based upon their treatment plan goals. Sessions typically last for 2-3 hours. A Behavior Technician will be implementing the plan put in place by the BCBA after assessment of the child. These skills will be worked on in various ways, which could include at a table or in a more naturally occurring environment. This is determined by the needs of the child. Sessions build new skills and build on maintaining skills the child already possesses to have a positive learning experience. Physical activity is taken into account so a child is never sitting for an inappropriate amount of time. Sessions are meant to be fun and engaging because that is when the child learns best. We continuously update programming to make sure the child is making progress as needed.
1. Discrete trial, DTT, consists of monotonous drills and long sessions of sitting at a table.
DTT can, and should, be done anywhere. It is often necessary to begin DTT at a table to make instruction clear and concise, but it is important to quickly move away from the table to ensure generalization of skills.
2. DTT is the same as ABA.
DTT is one procedure that utilizes only some of the ABA methodology. In order for ABA to be most effective, the practitioner needs to apply all seven dimensions, or criteria, of ABA. DTT is only effective when it is utilized with a variety of other ABA teaching procedures. All ABA programs should employ DTT, as well as AVB, PRT, NET and a variety of other methods.
3. ABA can only be utilized with individuals diagnosed with autism.
While ABA is the most widely recognized treatment for autism, ABA is a methodology which is not limited to providing services and treatment to only individuals with autism. In fact, ABA has been used effectively for many of the following:
-Developmental Disabilities and Disorders
-Health and Fitness
-and many more
ABA was even used in a space program in the 1960's to teach astronauts coping mechanisms for behavioral health issues while residing in confined areas!
4. ABA can be harmful and uncomfortable because of it's punishment procedures.
Properly applying the principles of ABA relies heavily on reinforcement and changing the environment around the individual. Often times when people hear the word punishment, they think of it as something harmful. Negative Punishment is a response behavior that is followed immediately by the removal of a stimulus, that decreases the future frequency of the aversive behavior (Cooper et.al., 2007). An example of negative punishment is response cost, removing reinforcement for an undesirable or disruptive behavior. This means taking away, for a period of time, an item that is preferred or reinforcing. By removing something you decrease the likelihood that aversive behavior will appear again.
If punishment procedures, or the use of aversives, are going to be employed, all other methods have to be attempted prior to this occurring and written consent must be obtained by all parties. Written consent can only be obtained when all parties are aware of the risks, benefits, safeguards, anticipated outcome(s), and monitoring system. ABA professionals are required to follow the ethical conduct as outlined with the Behavior Analyst Certification Board [BACB]. It is important for individuals to recognize the misapplication of ABA method.
Parents and professionals may believe that use of AAC will stifle a child’s potential verbal skills and/or serve as a “crutch” upon which the child will become reliant. However, there is no evidence that use of AAC impedes a child’s development of speech. In contrast, research shows that use of augmentative communication often facilitates an increase in verbal language in users with the potential to produce verbal speech.
Researchers, Millar, Light & Schlosser, reviewed previously published studies that focused on “speech production before, during and after AAC use.” Also, Schlosser & Wendt reviewed previously published studies describing the “effects of AAC on speech production in children with autism or developmental disorder‐not otherwise specified.” They all found that most of the studies showed increases in speech production, some stayed the same but “none reported a decline.” The combined data from these studies is reflected in this chart.