Children with special needs having behavior problems, due to these behavior problems they are not able to communicate properly with others. The connections between our thoughts and our actions are powerful. We often don’t realize or fail to appreciate the importance of maintaining a positive focus no matter what situations we find ourselves in. We are all susceptible to falling into ineffective or harmful thought patterns, particularly when things go wrong. However, some people are more prone to letting negative thoughts turn into problematic behaviors. When problems are exacerbated by unhealthy thought patterns or psychological trauma, being aware of how one’s thoughts can contribute to the symptoms is key to overcoming the associated distress. The field of applied behavior analysis (ABA) emphasizes and encourages healthy modes of communication, social skills, and other activities. It also addresses such adaptive learning skills as hygiene, motor dexterity, self-sufficiency, punctuality, and positive behaviors in employment settings.
The history of behavior therapy can be traced back to the mid-20th century. Joseph Wolpe, Hans Eysenck, B. F. Skinner, Aaron Beck, and Albert Ellis were among the pioneers in the field; Beck and Ellis pioneered cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The therapeutic strategies of Beck’s model attempted to alter negative thinking patterns, or maladaptive cognitions, to ameliorate emotional trauma and discourage damaging behaviors. An article in Cognitive Therapy and Research explains that his basic model has been modified to create behavior therapy programs that consider each disorder’s “cognitive and behavioral maintenance factors.”
All types of people can be helped by behavior and ABA therapy. For example, the approach is effective in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), attention deficit disorders (ADDs), and other behavioral issues. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), experts in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are discouraging doctors from prescribing ADHD medicine to children under 6 until their parents first get training in behavior therapy.
General categories of challenging behaviors include aggression, Stereotype, self-injurious, or disruptive behaviors. Other behavior problems that can mask a learning disability include impulsivity, inattention, not following directions, mood swings, disorganization, temper tantrums, and defiance.
Withdrawn behaviors such as
Disruptive behaviors such as
Calling out in class
Refusing to follow instructions
Effective Behavior Therapy Techniques
There is no single type of behavior therapy. In fact, what defines behavior therapy are many different types of specialized therapies, including the following:
The therapist helps the person identify unhealthy thought patterns and understand how those thoughts contribute to self-destructive behaviors and beliefs. Once the patterns are known, the therapist works with the person to think more constructively.
The therapist acts out a non-fearful response to a negative situation, and the person’s anxiety may be reduced by imitating the non-fearful response.
Teachers participate in promoting the student’s positive behaviors, blocking negative behaviors, and focusing the student on academic work.
The child’s parents are taught ways to reinforce positive behaviors, deter negative acts, and enhance the parent-child relationship. Parents are instructed on observing the child, using praise and positive attention to reward good behavior, setting rules, and addressing negative actions.
One or more of the student’s peers help them address behavior problems. The peers are taught by a teacher to encourage positive behavior in academic performance and social settings. In addition to proving successful in boosting the student’s health and well-being, the peer assistants benefit from their participation because it reinforces their positive behaviors and enhances their sense of responsibility.
Among the mental health disorders that can be treated with behavior therapy are addiction and substance use, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, eating disorders, insomnia, antisocial and borderline personality disorder, criminal actions, chronic pain, fatigue, and general stress. ABA has also been applied to enhance early-childhood education, sports performance, and organizational behavior management.