The alarm goes off, and you roll over to switch it off. The coffee finishes brewing and you pour yourself a cup. The kids wake up, and you get their breakfast set up.
We don’t consciously think about these events in terms of applied behavioral analysis (ABA), but it’s true that we make every day little choices based on expected outcomes. I switch off my alarm, because I want that annoying sound to stop and I know if I hit the off switch it will stop. I pour that first cup of coffee in the morning once its brewed because I anticipate loving the taste of coffee in the morning. I feed my children first thing in the morning because I know they are hungry and will feel better once they eat.
ABA is a scientific approach to understanding behavior. It refers to a set of principles that focus on how behaviors are shaped over time in the environment and how this relates to learning. Often, our behavior is shaped naturally, through consequences that occur throughout our day and over time. There are many skills, however, that we need to learn more deliberately, with more effort and greater concentration. These skills may require external reinforcement to stick with the learning process. Think, for example, of learning to play the piano, adopting a new exercise regimen, or learning a foreign language.
Sandbox ABA uses these same principles to help young children with autism learn new skills, develop new interests, and make stronger relationships with others.
The next time you wake and take those first steps into your day, take a moment to reflect on what you have chosen to do and why. Let us know about your motivations and what makes the extra effort worthwhile.