What to Expect in ABA Therapy

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What is ABA Therapy? Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on improving social, communication, and behavioral skills for individuals with developmental or behavioral disorders, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). During ABA therapy sessions, a therapist will work one-on-one with the individual to develop personalized goals and teach them new skills through positive reinforcement techniques. Expect regular assessments to track progress and modifications to the therapy plan as needed. ABA therapy is a collaborative approach that involves the client, their family, and the therapist working together towards a common goal.

The clinical assessment process usually includes the following:

  • An interview with the caregiver.
  • Assessment and observation of skills will be conducted in a variety of settings, including a home and community setting. Communication, social and emotional, and adaptive skills will also be evaluated.
  • An assessment review by a professional other than the assessor.

What will ABA services look like?

Services are tailored to each child’s specific needs and learning style, providing interactive, hands-on, structured, and naturalistic services. Registered Behavior Technicians are present to focus on each child’s specific needs, such as functioning, self-help, social interaction, and communication skills. ABA services are available for individuals of all ages, in a wide range of settings, including home-based, center-based, community-based, school-based, or virtual services.

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What skills will most likely be worked on?

After your child has completed a clinical assessment, your clinical team will create individualized treatment plans that focus on developmentally appropriate skills. These may include:

  • Increased communication
  • Reduced frustration when communicating
  • Toilet training on an individual basis
  • Enhancing social skills
  • Skills in health and safety that are age-appropriate
  • Skills related to sleeping and eating
  • Skills necessary for functional living

Who will be working with my child during ABA?

Your child will receive individualized treatment with the same Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) each day. Typically, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) oversees the program, collects data, and measures progress. Your RBTs will implement the program and collect data that allows you to measure progress and modify the program accordingly.

Does your child get to interact with other children during ABA Therapy?

In some cases, a group setting may be the most suitable environment for a child who needs to generalize new skills, practice social skills, or transition to a less restrictive environment. As well as 1:1 programming, group programs can also be recommended.

What can caregivers to do help their child during ABA?

To empower families with the necessary skills, the clinician develops individual caregiver support services based on the assessment of the parent’s or caregiver’s skills and works. As part of the ABA process, the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) will work with your family regularly (weekly, biweekly, or monthly) to set individualized goals aimed at assisting parents in addressing behavior deficits and skill acquisition.

In sessions, families learn strategies that are useful for every day. As you become more comfortable with the daily activities in sessions, you will take on a more active participant role by participating hands-on during the sessions and interacting with them. Eventually, you will be able to facilitate the skill acquisition tasks and feel empowered to continuously assist.

How long will my child need ABA Therapy?

Every child will require different amounts of time for ABA Therapy. Your clinical team will work with you and your family to create a treatment plan and work through it as promptly as possible.

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