Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA)

At Mount Hawthorn education support centre we positively engage in applied behaviour analysis (ABA).  The Centre began using ABA in 1998 and has built a good reputation in the wider community for effective delivery of the program. Many of our staff have now been involved in intensive professional development to enhance skills and knowledge in the area of ABA and discrete trial training and we keep pace with progress in research and development in this field.

ABA focuses on teaching small, measurable units of behaviour in a very systematic way.  A task is broken down into small steps and taught in a one on one situation.  Teaching trials are repeated many times, initially in rapid succession, until the student performs a response readily with minimal or no prompts.  To maximise a child’s success, emerging skills are practised and reinforced in many less structured situations e.g. group activities in class, on excursions, and at home.

In the 10 years ABA has been used to support our students, we have seen students who, were initially inconsolably anxious about being in a classroom, let alone with other children, becoming quite happy and calm and enjoying their classmates.  We have seen students increase their attention, eventually becoming able to focus on and complete their school work, play with peers and develop skills needed to learn. We have seen students who, at the start, did not follow any directions, but at the end were happy and confident to listen to and be guided by their teachers who could then help them interact  successfully with the world around them.

We require parents to observe the program before making decisions, since parent enthusiasm is essential to its success.

Many parents have private service providers working with their child at home using ABA.  Collaboration with these professionals takes place in order to have a more co-ordinated approach and to share ideas.  Teachers and education assistants may visit other education facilities as well as private therapy centres to further their knowledge and learn new skills.

ABA is a useful and scientifically validated method that works well for many students with disabilities. Our Centre now has a permanent Autism Early Intervention Program for Kindergarten and Pre-Primary students with a diagnosis of ASD with high capability.  These are students who do not have an intellectual disability and will therefore continue their schooling in a mainstream class and access the curriculum with their mainstream peers. For more detailed explanations of our Autism Early Intervention Centre for high functioning students programs click Find Out More