Firefly Autism employs the scientifically supported practice of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) as the clinical foundation of all our treatment.
What is Applied Behavior Analysis?
Behavior analysis focuses on the principles that explain how learning takes place. Positive reinforcement is one such principle. When a behavior is followed by some sort of reward, the behavior is more likely to be repeated. Through decades of research, the field of behavior analysis has developed many techniques for increasing useful behaviors and reducing those that may cause harm or interfere with learning.
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the use of these techniques and principles to bring about meaningful and positive change in behavior.
As mentioned, behavior analysts began working with young children with autism and related disorders in the 1960s. Early techniques often involved adults directing most of the instruction. Some allowed the child to take the lead. Since that time, a wide variety of ABA techniques have been developed for building useful skills in learners with autism – from toddlers through adulthood.
These techniques can be used in structured situations such as a classroom lesson as well as in "everyday" situations such as family dinnertime or the neighborhood playground. Some ABA therapy sessions involve one-on-one interaction between the behavior analyst and the participant. Group instruction can likewise prove useful.
Today, ABA is widely recognized as a safe and effective treatment for autism. It has been endorsed by a number of state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Surgeon General and the New York State Department of Health. Over the last decade, the nation has seen a particularly dramatic increase in the use of ABA to help persons with autism live happy and productive lives. In particular, ABA principles and techniques can foster basic skills such as looking, listening and imitating, as well as complex skills such as reading, conversing and understanding another person’s perspective.
One of a handful of autism centers in Colorado, Firefly offers one of the most comprehensive services in the country. Our services include clinical assessments and the development of individual treatment plans, an intensive early intervention program, a school-age program for students up to age 21, a home and community based program, and weekly social skills groups. Firefly serves children (as young as 18 months of age) and adults, and every program in our clinic has a 1:1 student to teacher ratio. Firefly’s treatment is based on leading, empirically based interventions, primarily using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to teach functional skills. The supervising personnel for ABA-based programs are Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA’s) who, in addition to holding a graduate degree, completing a series of coursework in ABA, required hours of supervision, and are credentialed by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (www.BACB.com). To maintain certification, each analyst must maintain continuing education at least annually. To enhance service delivery, our organization includes speech and occupational therapy, and mental health services, based on the individual’s needs.