Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is frequently described as the "gold standard" when it comes to treatment in autism. Applied behavior analysis is a type of methodology which is for autism treatment and is based upon behaviorist theories that believe that desired behaviors can be learnt through a system of rewards and consequences.
It was developed in 1987 by Dr. Ivar Lovaas, who was a behavioral psychologist, had an opinion that social and behavioral skills can be learnt, even to those children who are profoundly autistic, employing the ABA methods.
The proposition behind this was that “autism is a set of behavioral symptoms that can be changed or extinguished."
When autistic behaviors are no longer evident and reinforced to the observer, the presupposition is that the autism itself will be effectively treated.
Many if not most children who receive exhaustive ABA training, actually learn to behave appropriately at least some of the time, and not only that few of them even lose their autism diagnosis after receiving years of rigourous therapy.
Applied behavior analysis can be considered as a concept of applying behavioral principles to reach behavioral goals and by carefully assessing the results. While the notion of employing rewards and consequences to help in learning a desirable behavior is probably as old as human civilization, however the idea of carefully using and applying these rewards and consequences to achieve specific, measurable goals is relatively new.
Applied behavior analysis is aimed at "extinguishing" undesirable behaviors and teaching desired behaviors and skills.
Applied behavior analysis can also be utilised in a way to teach simple and complex skills.
It can also be used in a "natural" setting (a playground, for example), but this process is not intended to build emotional skills.
Applied behavior analysis is definitely worth a trial. Before beginning however, it is very important to be sure that your child's therapist is trained, and he knows what, how and where they will be working with your child, and work with your therapist to establish realistic goals. Always keep see if the efforts made are reaching to any productive level or not.
What is also important is to be aware of your child's responses to the therapist and the therapy.
See if she is excited when she "gets to" work with her therapist?
If she is giving response to the therapist with smiles and engagement?
If she is learning skills that are assisting and are being used in her in her daily life?
If the answers are "yes," you're moving in the right direction. If not, it's time to reassess.