ABA (or Applied Behavior Analysis) refers to the scientific approach to understanding how behavior is affected by the environment and consists of interventions derived from research-established principles of behavior. ABA therapists look at the ABC’s (Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence) of behavior, to determine ‘why’ a certain behavior is occurring, and to teach skills that are significant to the child or individual. When determining the ‘antecedent’ a therapist would ask the question, “what led up to this?’. When observing the behavior, a therapist would describe what the behavior looks like. The term, ‘consequence,’ in ABA, refers to what happened directly after the behavior; the ABC’s are just one of the many ‘tools’ that Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA’s) and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) use to understand our learners and teach them skills to thrive in life. Other strategies that are used in ABA include, Natural Environment Teaching (NET), Reinforcement, Functional Communication, Replacement Behaviors and many more. Client’s work with a BCBA who is responsible for conducting functional behavior assessments, observing behavior, outlining behavior goals, developing and implementing treatment plans, supervising RBTs and making adjustments to interventions as necessary to meet a child’s goals. The RBTs provide 1:1 therapy to children, implement teaching methods designed by the BCBA, build and maintain a positive relationship with each child, cultivate an environment that is engaging and fun, and contrive optimal learning opportunities. ABA is individualized to meet the needs of each unique child. Research has shown that consistent ABA significantly improves social interactions, skill acquisition, communication, motor skills, and promotes positive behavior and independence.
Our approach is child-led and play-based!
We understand that teaching through play provides our learners with tools to develop social, language, play, and other independent living skills while teaching kids that learning and participating IS fun! Play and Natural Environment Teaching (NET) is a crucial part of our ABA approach. NET is a scientifically proven teaching method that allows ABA practitioners to incorporate the learner’s natural environment for teaching, development, and generalization of skills. The aim is for your child to have fun while learning and discovering new tools. Our therapists use toys, games, and other playtime routines to help children develop social, communication, play, and other independent living skills including:
- Language Skills
- Following Directions
- Making Eye-Contact
- Respecting Boundaries
- Motor Skills
- Executive Functioning
Our therapists design their therapy sessions to meet each child where they are at and provide them the tools to be as independent as possible.
Teaching is incorporated into play activities using familiar toys, games, and materials to maximize the learner’s motivation and learning. We follow the learner’s interests by both practicing proactively and teaching skills in real-time when it is the most useful and meaningful for them. Our ABA therapists utilize natural reinforcers which includes the play or activity itself, positive social interactions, and time spent with their therapist.
We aim to foster a positive relationship and provide a fun and engaging environment for our learners so that your child is excited for their ABA session to eager to learn!
What Can ABA Do For My Child?
ABA facilitates language development, promotes independent living skills, fosters social skills and establishes positive changes in behavior. At Handprints, ABA therapy is individualized to each child’s needs. Our therapists utilize their ‘toolbox’ of ABA strategies to meet a child where they are and provide an optimal learning environment that is positive, engaging and FUN!
ABA assists in teaching and developing a variety of skills for your child to thrive, including:
- Communication and language skills
- Social skills
- Executive functioning
- Self-care and independent living skills
- Feeding challenges
- Repetitive behaviors
- Restricted interests
- Play skills
- Motor skills
Read more about how our ABA + SPOT therapists work together to provide a collaborative approach to therapy for your child.
What Does an ABA Initial Assessment/Evaluation Look Like?
When our therapists first meet your child, it’s important to assess your child on an individual basis so we can provide the most effective therapy plan to meet their needs.
Initial ABA evaluations include both direct and indirect assessment measures. This mixture gives the BCBAs (Board Certified Behavior Analysts) the information that they need to build an individualized treatment plan for your child.
Are ABA Assessments Tailored to Each Child?
Yes, the ABA assessment strategy looks different for each child. Our BCBAs have a library of standard assessments to choose from when it comes to building an evaluation plan for your child’s ABA services. These assessments are categorized by the developmental milestones associated with specific age groups.
When determining which ABA assessment(s) to use, the BCBA will choose based on information provided by caregivers, physicians, and past reports. This will help them identify the specific areas needing to be assessed.
What is Involved in the Skills Assessment?
Depending on the skills assessment chosen for your child, the format of the evaluation session can vary. Some assessments require a direct evaluation with your child, while other assessments involve a parent questionnaire.
Regardless of which skills assessment is used, the BCBA will utilize play and a natural environment approach throughout the assessment.
What is Involved in the Behavior Assessment?
When a learner begins ABA, your child’s assigned BCBA will conduct a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA). There are 2 main components of an FBA: Direct assessments, and indirect assessments.
- Direct assessments: Direct observations to determine the function (the “why”) of your child’s behavior. Once the function(s) are confirmed, the BCBA will use that information and the information from the indirect assessments, to develop child-specific goals and interventions that will be implemented during therapy sessions.
- Indirect assessments: The BCBA will review all of your child’s records, briefly interview the caregiver(s) to get a more personalized history of your child, and analyze the data from your child’s skill assessment and direct observations.
How Many Treatment Hours Does ABA Require?
The recommended number of treatment hours per work varies based on your child and their needs. After concluding the initial assessments, the BCBA will use these results to decide on how many treatment hours they recommend for your child. The more areas your child needs support in, the more hours per week of therapy will typically be recommended.
At Handprints Therapies, we acknowledge that sometimes our clinical recommendation of hours doesn’t align with your family’s availability. In those cases, we do require a minimum of 10 treatment hours per week to maintain consistency, make progress and have success with our programming.