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What’s New in Applied Behavioral Analysis Therapy?

12 April 2023

April 12, 2023

In: Therapy News & Events

therapist and child high five

Highlights  

  • Applied behavioral analysis therapy is typically used to help those with autism develop cognitive and social skills and has changed to a more natural and inclusive approach in recent years. 
  • Current applied behavioral analysis research shows advancements in using machine learning and acceptance and commitment training for beneficial patient outcomes. 
  • More therapists are using telehealth technology to offer applied behavioral analysis therapy to patients for better access to care. 

World Behavior Analysis day occurs on March 20, making this the perfect time to familiarize yourself with the latest findings and advancements in applied behavioral analysis therapy research. As a therapist, staying updated on the latest research helps you provide the best possible care to your patients. 

Reviewing and applying new techniques and theories lets you better understand and address your patients’ needs with personalized care for improved mental health. 

The Evolution of Applied Behavioral Analysis Therapy

Applied behavioral analysis (ABA) is commonly used today to treat individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), developmental disabilities, and other behavioral or psychological issues. 

Applied behavioral analysis (ABA) has undergone significant changes since its inception nearly 60 years ago. Originally used to treat severe developmental disorders, such as autism, ABA has expanded its scope to include issues such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD). 

Specific changes include discrete trial training, which breaks down complex behaviors into smaller, more manageable steps, and a naturalistic teaching approach that focuses on more real-life settings to promote socialization and communication skills. 

Modern ABA also emphasizes caretaker training and involvement, encouraging therapists to work closely with parents to facilitate better communication and behavior management at home.

Latest Research on Applied Behavioral Analysis

The past few years have provided several insights into new applications for ABA, including machine learning and combination approaches, such as using a pedagogical approach for students involved in ABA and incorporating acceptance and commitment training into treatment. 

Machine Learning in ABA Therapy

The limited number of licensed ABA practitioners and the subjectivity of clinicians in treating ASD can impact the quality of treatment. In this exploratory 2022 study, researchers used two machine learning algorithms to suggest and create personalized ABA treatment goals for study participants with ASD. 

The collaborative filtering and patient similarity methods predicted ABA treatments with 81-84% accuracy. And the proposed treatment recommendation and personalization strategy may be used for other intervention methods and brain disorders.

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Acceptance and Commitment Training and ABA

A 2021 study discusses the benefits of incorporating acceptance and commitment training (ACT) and relational frame theory (RFT) into ABA to address complex behavior influenced by covert verbal behavior effectively. 

The study highlights the importance of considering the maintenance of variables when addressing maladaptive covert verbal behavior, such as lying or denial. It encourages behavior analysts to adopt RFT and ACT practices in applied settings. 

The authors suggest that incorporating these approaches into ABA can lead to a more comprehensive analysis of behavior and more effective interventions for socially significant change.

Combined Probiotics and ABA Therapy for Autism Treatment

This 2021 random controlled trial aimed to investigate the effect of probiotics combined with ABA in treating children with ASD. 

A total of 41 children were randomly divided into an observation group (ABA with probiotics) and a control group (ABA only). The results showed that the observation group had a significantly lower Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC) score and a different composition of intestinal flora after three months of intervention compared to the control group. 

The study suggests that probiotics may enhance standard ABA interventions in children with ASD by modulating intestinal flora.

Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and ABA

A 2021 study examined the convergence between culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) and ABA to reduce educational disparities in PK–12 schools.

The article discusses various strategies for educators to enhance students’ academic achievement and critical consciousness while promoting cultural competence. The tactics include precision teaching, direct instruction, criterion-referenced assessments, building on prior knowledge, problem-solving curricula, positive reinforcement, and peer tutoring. 

The article also highlights the importance of using students’ interests and experiences as a basis for instruction and establishing relationships between schools and communities. The researchers also emphasize using ABA as a framework to model, scaffold, and clarify challenging curricula and promote positive behavior. 

Dose-Treatment Frequency on ABA Efficacy

This 2022 study aimed to evaluate whether children with ASD who received more hours of ABA therapy achieved better outcomes and to assess the impact of COVID-19-induced telehealth clinical supervision on outcomes. 

A retrospective cohort analysis was performed, and the results showed that children appeared to have improved outcomes independent of the number of hours of service received. There were also no significant associations between the modality of supervision and Vineland standard scores. 

The findings challenge prior research demonstrating a linear dose-response relationship, suggesting that tailoring treatment dosage to the individual client’s needs may be more efficient.

therapist at her desk

Streamline AutismTreatment with ABA-Specific Features from ClinicSource  

As a therapist, the therapy practice management software you use is critical to the level of care you provide to your patients. The right platform can help you streamline administrative tasks, manage your schedule, simplify ABA documentation, allowing you to focus on providing personalized treatment plans.

ClinicSource is a cloud-based therapy EHR software for providers working with adult or pediatric patients in ABA. This all-in-one system integrates ABA documentation, scheduling, billing, and practice management. It is BACB-certified, and therapists can view all schedules, enter progress notes, track patient progression, and log treatments from anywhere. 

ClinicSource provides evaluation templates and scoring grids that enable you to easily document and analyze clinical findings. The system also features a robust reporting system and includes add-on tools like CSTelecare that allow you to offer virtual ABA therapy.

Discover How ClinicSource Can Support Applied Behavioral Analysis Therapy for Your Patients

Whether you currently use a manual documentation system or are looking to switch to a cloud-based therapy practice management software, ClinicSource is the perfect choice for ABA-focused treatment. 

Book a demo today with a ClinicSource Specialist to experience how an integrated platform can simplify your practice management and help you focus more on your patients. 

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