What is Applied behavior Analysis?
In the field of Applied Behavior Analysis, there is an unsaid oath that we all take: “Save the World.” At first, I thought this idea was too much responsibility for one person or for a room full of 45 students. My exact words were “Yeah, right. Whatever.” But as soon as I managed to work both within the school setting and within family’s homes, I realized that the education and experience that I had been gradually gaining could possibly change or alter a family. That I could “save the world” by helping one person achieve something that others thought insignificant, and yet so vital. Insignificant because some people don’t stop to think, “Well how DO I get a glass of water? How DO I shrug my shoulders? How DO I let someone know when my head hurts?” Important because some things are necessary to live and survive. I can actually “save the world” one child at a time.
Of course, my goal in life is not to be a hero. I think that we are all heroes in our own way. My goal in life is to help as many people as I can. To do my job to the best of my ability to help people and their families that live with developmental delays to improve, enrich, enjoy, and support their lives.
Applied Behavior Analysis is a form of treatment that has peer-reviewed research that can be replicated. Meaning that the research that has been done, can be done over and over again with the same results. “Applied” means that it is not just theory and book smart, but actual hands-on work or practice. “Behavior Analysis” is not only studying and learning, but realizing how to get a new skill, how to keep a new skill, and what does not lead to a new skill. The documentation or data that is collected is important so that the information that is gathered can be replicated to help acquire more complex skills.
My niche is autistic children. I have worked with them since 2004. I can honestly say that each child, regardless of the brevity of time I had the privilege of spending with them, is special and has potential. Each child has left their little finger print in my heart. I just hope that I can continue collecting fingerprints for as long as I can.
Nikki Torres ABA therapist