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Applied Behavior Analysis FAQs

Child playing with blocks at table

What is the purpose of Applied Behavior Analysis?

The goal of ABA is to identify skill deficits in areas such as communication, socialization and functional life skills that may contribute to challenging behaviors. We then develop individualized treatment plans that focus on teaching skills and functional communication through evidence-based practices. Treatment modalities include identifying and implementing environmental modifications, teaching replacement behaviors, and reinforcing new behaviors.

How often are appointments and how long do they last? 

  • In clinic ABA takes place at the Autism Center with appointment availability Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm. 
  • In-home ABA clinicians come to your home or meet the family in the community for therapies. Appointments typically take place Monday-Friday, 8am-8pm, with some weekend availability. 
  • Your health care provider will refer you to either in-home ABA therapy or in-clinic ABA therapy. After a referral is made, you will be contacted regarding your availability and an assessment will be scheduled with the BCBA. You may be placed on a waitlist if there is not an opening during your availability.
  • A typical ABA session is around 2-4 hours and can range from 3-5 days a week depending on the hours recommended by the BCBA based on the results of the assessment. Total hours recommended are individualized but typically range from 10-15 hours per week. 
  • An individualized service plan will be written for the first six months and the need for services will be reassessed every six months. Time frame is individualized based on progress.

What kinds of things are done in a session?

  • Positive reinforcement is one of the main strategies used in ABA. First, the therapist identifies a goal behavior. Each time the person uses the behavior or skill successfully, they get a reward. The reward is meaningful to the individual – examples include praise, a toy or book, watching a video, access to playground or other location, and more.
  • Clinicians work directly with the child on skills like communication, social skills, self-care, play, motor skills, leisure activities, learning, and academic skills. 
  • ABA therapy is driven by individualized data based on child’s strengths and challenge areas. Data is taken throughout session and is used to determine progress and any needed changes to treatment. 

What is my role as parent/legal guardian in treatment?

  • Parents participate in both ABA sessions and individualized parent training a minimum of once a month. 
  • During in-home ABA sessions, a patient and a parent or caregiver must be present for the entire session. Parents should be available for participation as needed and indicated by clinicians for in-clinic therapy sessions. 
  • Parent goals are incorporated into treatment and are reviewed with parent and BCBA at least monthly.
  • Parent involvement may include observing your child in session, meeting with the BCBA to discuss progress, concerns or specific skills or working directly with your child during ABA sessions.