What is ABA therapy? How does it work?

Applied Behavior Analysis is a scientific approach to understanding behavior. Using research and evidence-based methods, Behavior Analysts and Technicians work together to help their clients ​:

ABA Therapy has been widely accepted as the foremost intervention for individuals with Autism.

What does an ABA therapy process look like?

A Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) will:

  • Analyze atypical behaviors
  • Identify the triggers that bring on each one
  • Outline a plan to change the child’s reaction to the trigger
  • Break down long term goals into achievable steps that, with the support of an RBT, will be
    Practiced →  Reinforced → Mastered

What Happens in Session?

Our clinicians invest in cultivating a good working and playful relationship with your child, though it may take some time until that goal is achieved. They deliver results by breaking goals down into teachable steps, and then building on them to make your child as independent as possible.

Your assigned therapist will be compassionate and friendly, focused on your child’s needs, skills, interests, preferences, and family environment. In each therapy session, your child will be engaged through enjoyable activities that integrate therapy goals. Your child will also receive  feedback or reward to guide and reinforce the practiced skill. Finally, a skill worked on repeatedly can be integrated into a natural setting, such as playtime or daily routine.

For example:

“Jimmy” is a vivacious, but non-verbal two-year-old with a head of unruly blonde curls, yet when Jimmy hears the sound of the hair trimmer, he is quick to escape. His ABA treatment plan includes the goal of allowing someone to cut his hair. Jimmy’s therapist outlines a sequence of steps to help him achieve this goal. His parents reported that his favorite toy is his yellow bugle, so each time he sits in the barber chair with the cape around his neck, he gets to hold his bugle.

Once he can do that step without protest, we introduce the sound of the hair trimmer. With much practice and consistent positive reinforcement, Jimmy can finally generalize this skill outside of the therapy setting and inside the barber shop.

Therapy goals emphasize skills that empower our clients with independence they will carry through their lives.