ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) Therapy

ABA is an evidence-based treatment approach of recognizing and altering environmental contingencies to improve a socially significant behavior. ABA is data driven; data is collected on target behaviors, analyzed by the BCBA and behavior therapists, and therapy decisions are made based on trends in data. We use this guiding theory paired with the philosophy that every individual has a unique way to learn and the presentation and teaching of skills must be consistent with the learner’s unique style.

Our ABA program has two branches: skill-building and behavior support. We use a language-based approach to address both areas. We believe that language deficits are at the root of many behaviors and helping the individual develop skills to better understand and communicate allows the individual to utilize more effective and appropriate ways to advocate for themselves to get needs met.

The skill-building branch addresses cognitive skills by breaking down learning into specific hierarchical steps targeting essential components to increase the individual’s skill repertoire. This allows the individual to have a broad foundation of knowledge to build increasingly more complex skills. We use both the ABLLS-R (Assessment of Basic Language and Learner Skills – Revised) and the VB-MAPP (Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program) to identify current skills. A barriers assessment is also completed to determine skills not acquired that are necessary to effectively participate in learning activities.

The behavior support branch addresses maladaptive behaviors by teaching positive replacement behaviors. A formal behavior assessment process is used to gather data from a minimum of three sources and create a behavior intervention plan. The behavior intervention plan has three key components: identifying deficit skills that are the root cause or contributing to the behavior, teaching positive replacement behaviors and creating consistent responses to the behavior. Parent coaching is a key component in the program aimed at providing parents tools and confidence to positively respond and modify the individual’s behavior. When appropriate, training is also provided to schools and other caretakers.

The ABA program is tailored to each individual to meet the specific needs of the individual and the family. The number of hours and days is determined by the team, which includes the family. The time needed for therapy is based on a variety of factors including but not limited to other activities and therapies including number of hours spent in school, disruptiveness of behaviors, and skills needing to be acquired. It is our goal to teach skills and positive behaviors that can be generalized into the natural settings of life. Below is a list of some of the skills targeted by ABA. (This list is not inclusive.)

  • Language concepts

  • Conversation skills

  • Social interactions

  • Play and leisure skills

  • Positive behavior training

  • Developing self-management skills

  • Functional cooperation skills (home, school, social)

  • Improving home routines (bedtime, dinnertime, etc)

  • Toilet training