So I thought I should write about my day time job partly because I feel there isn't enough awareness about ABA. I was debating whether I should post this up on my website... heck I might copy and paste this at a later date.
At the moment I'm an ABA tutor and I'm doing illustration at the side. When I tell people this I just say "I'm a tutor for children with autism." But it is really more than that!
ABA means Applied Behaviour Analysis, the simplest way to define it is ABA looks at excessive and deficit behaviours with autistic children and applies specific behavioural interventions. Usually ABA is used at an early stage of a child's life. There's a lot of background theory to it but what I've found most interesting is how certain consequences reinforces positive and negative behaviour and that environmental factors have a significant impact on the function of the behaviour. Have I lost you already?! Basically without waffling on loads behaviour is maintained through reinforcement (must be contingent.) When you put the theory into practise that's when you understand it more, trust me you do!
So if a child is learning something new, say cup, the child would get consistent positive reinforcement every time they touched the cup. The reinforcement can be anything from a high five (which I love doing) to a toy, DS... so as long as the child knows if they do this they get the toy. Simple!!!
There really is more to this and I shan't go on. The main reason why I'm writing about this is because I've met some very extraordinary children through this job and working with children autism is so much fun! It can be really challenging at times but the positive side of it is seeing the child learning all these skills and knowing that one day they'll be independent in one area of their life.
I've been an ABA tutor a year and a half now and I hope to continue with it or in this area of work. Whilst doing illustration when I get back from work of course!
If you'd like to know a bit more about autism check out The National Autistic Society and Ambitious About Autism.
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