Home/Services/ABA Therapy Programs/How ABA Therapy Works & How It Can Help

Broadly speaking, ABA therapists work on behavior reduction and skill acquisition. More specifically, ABA (or Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy refers to how we work on behaviors. The behavior that we target can be anything! Since ABA therapists have their hands “in all lanes”, collaborating with other therapists like speech, occupational, and physical therapists can be very beneficial to give a more specific approach to treatment.

What Can ABA Do For My Child?

Because ABA can really target any of the behavioral challenges your child is facing, ABA will look different for every child – it’s the scientific approach to the therapy that stays the same.

Some of the focus areas that can benefit from ABA are:

  • Communication and language skills
  • Social skills
  • Executive functioning
  • Self-care and independent living skills
  • Toileting
  • 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 broken down by the developmental milestones associated with specific age groups.

When choosing which ABA assessment(s) to use, the BCBA will choose based on specific areas that need to be measured. Information provided by caregivers, physicians, and past reports will help them identify the specific areas needing to be measured.

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 more hands-on testing and evaluating with your child, while others are more question and answer based with caregivers.

Regardless of which skills assessment the BCBA chooses, they will also encourage free play with your child for observation purposes.

What is Involved in the Behavior Assessment?

Once behavior therapy begins, 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: Hands-on testing to determine the function (the “why”) of your child’s behavior. Once the function(s) are confirmed, the BCBA will use that information paired with the information from the indirect assessments to develop child-specific interventions that will be used 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 in order to see any amount of progress and success with our programming.

Interested in ABA for your child? Contact our therapists!

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