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Applied Behavior Analysis is a scientific discipline that uses the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors. It is a systematic approach to understanding and changing behavior. The philosophy of ABA is to identify environmental factors that influence behavior, and to change those factors.

ABA practitioners work with individuals of all ages to address a variety of issues, including developmental disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, cognitive disabilities, and behavioral issues. ABA is also used in businesses and organizations to improve employee productivity and customer satisfaction.

ABA therapy has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of issues, and research continues to support its efficacy. ABA therapists use a variety of techniques to help their clients improve their behavior. These techniques may include positive reinforcement, modeling, and shaping. ABA practitioners also work with caregivers and family members to teach them how to support their loved ones in their treatment goals.

In recent years, ABA has become synonymous with “Autism Spectrum Disorder” and “Autism” therapy. This is largely because insurance companies and Medicaid have a mandate in many states to pay for ABA therapy and services for those diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. However, behavior analysis can and does benefit everyone! These strategies can be used with children and adults, whether they are hearing or deaf.

Most programs and resources in the community are focused on hearing children. But Deaf children exist too! Roughly 30-40% of all Deaf and hard of hearing children struggle with challenging behavior. That’s over 100,000 children in the U.S. alone! (And no, it’s not because they’re Deaf.) This is a rate 2-3 times higher than hearing children. But they are half as likely to receive behavioral supports or therapy to meet their needs compared to hearing children.

That’s part of what we do here at Signs of Communication, LLC. We are bringing awareness and training to parents, caregivers and professionals that just because their child experiences behavioral challenges in addition to being deaf… that’s not the end of the road. Deafness is NOT a life sentence to problem behavior and we can use the science of behavioral analysis to teach communication skills and so much more.

You may be wondering why the term “Deaf ABA” is used. After all, we don’t refer to “Russian ABA” or “American ABA” based on a person’s country of origin. However, it’s important to recognize that deaf and hard of hearing children cannot be taught using the same methods as hearing children who are unable to hear. “Regular ABA” is not suitable for working with deaf kids. Deaf children experience the world in a fundamentally different way than their hearing peers. Their development, understanding of the world, ability to communicate, and support needs are all unique. Deaf ABA presents unique opportunities to learn about human behavior, language development and the way we function in the world.