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What is ABA Therapy?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy is an evidence-based method for teaching new skills and reducing challenging behaviors by applying scientific principles including positive reinforcement, conditioning, and motivation. Over 30 years of research has demonstrated the efficacy of ABA therapy and it is widely considered the protocol for treating individuals with autism.

Woman and young girl learning together

Here’s what ABA therapy
helps with:

Developing play skills and
expanding interests

Building communication skills

Increasing socialization

Learning daily living skill

Decreasing disruptive behaviors

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Improving learning skills

What the ABA therapy process looks like:

Assessment

After receiving an autism diagnosis from a qualified professional, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) will do an initial assessment of a child spanning over several hours. This standardized evaluation of the child’s current skills and skill deficits consists of parent/guardian interviews, client observation, and direct testing.

Treatment Planning

The BCBA will come up with a plan for services to address deficits and build on existing skillsets. He or she will work with the child’s parents to ensure that all of their key goals are being incorporated. They will then recommend the number of treatment hours per week the child should receive. Once the parents review and approve the treatment plan, treatment will begin. 

Treatment

By using different methods, the clinical team will identify reinforcers (toys, food, etc) to make ABA therapy most effective for the child. The team will then utilize these reinforcers and implement other procedures such as visual supports, verbal cues, and physical assistance to strengthen the child’s skillset and decrease the occurrence of negative behaviors. By using data analysis, the BCBA will collect data and determine the most effective methods and modify the treatment plan as necessary to improve and accelerate the learning process.

Discharge

Upon reaching a significant amount of treatment goals and a certain level of performance on the standardized assessment administered at intake, the BCBA will reduce the recommended number of hours of treatment. The child will gradually fade out therapy and discontinue services once all treatment goals have been met.

To learn more about ABA Therapy, please check out our Resources page