Applied Behavior Analysis ABA Essential 8

Applied Behavior Analysis – Essentials For Living: The Essential 8

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapies are driven by the strategies that are applied during therapy sessions over time. The Essentials For Living approach is focused on communication, behavior, functional skills curriculum, assessment, and skill tracking for children and adults with moderate to severe disabilities. 

The Essential 8

The Essential 8 are skills that are the foundation for a happy and fulfilling lifestyle. Without these skills individuals are more likely to experience behavioral issues, discomfort in public settings, and overall limited options when it comes to family activities in the community and beyond. 

Essential 8 ABA Therapy

  1. Making Requests – The default goal is to teach communication through spoken word, however, the plan is developed based on whether or not that is possible. For non verbal individuals, the focus may be speaking through other mediums such as sign language, or possibly written/typed words.
  2. Waiting – Teaching the individual to wait without losing their patience, or having a meltdown.
  3. Accepting Removals, Making Transitions, Sharing, and Taking Turns – The patient takes on training to cope with activities such as sharing, or having something they desire taken away. 
  4. Completing 10 Consecutive, Brief, Previously Acquired Tasks – The individual is able to complete task upon request 10 times in a row. The tasks are based on their individual plan, but could include things like completing a puzzle, or putting their clothes away.
  5. Accepting “No” – Training that focuses on dealing with being told “No.”
  6. Following Directions: Health and Safety – Teaching skills for complying to requests as a means to develop life skills like getting dressed in the morning, or responding to words like “stop” or “wait.”
  7. Completing Daily Living Skills: Health and Safety – Learning to complete daily life skills such as getting dressed, bathing, eating, and grooming. 
  8. Tolerating Situations: Health and Safety – Teaches the child or adult to comply with requests in a way that allows for daily activities to progress as planned. Improves with issues like waiting in line, shopping, going to parks, etc.

The Essential 8 are highly focused on daily activities. and the general skills need to be in public without consistent meltdowns and tantrums. Whether this strategy will be chosen for ABA therapy is dependent upon the needs of the child or adult being treated. 

Treatment Development

The evaluation of the 8 factors are what end up creating the treatment plan for the patient. The choice can be to provide a comprehensive and/or a focused treatment plan. That is of course, dependent upon the patient and where their skills and developmental delays effect their life the most.

ABA Therapy Takes A Village
ABA Therapy Sessions

The Goals

With ABA therapy there is one major factor that contributes to the success or failure of the strategy being used. That factor is involvement.

The relationship is not between the patient and therapist alone; the parent is a major contributor whose responsibilities must be taken seriously.

The parents are expected to fulfill certain goals such as learning proactive and reactive approaches to behavioral issues. Additionally, parents are expected to implement the strategies from therapy sessions into the everyday life of the child or adult with the disability. 

In short, the parent, therapist, and patient are expected to work together to provide the best strategy and support for the patient. 

It would be a big mistake to take this aspect of ABA therapy lightly. Parent’s must be ambitious about their child’s treatment.

It will take adjusting when it comes to daily activities, and maybe even how long it takes to get ready for the day, but in the long run it will actually save the parent’s a lot of time while improving the lives of everyone involved. 


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