How Long Does ABA Therapy Last?

ABA Therapy Timeline for Autism

how long does aba therapy last

If you’re exploring Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy for your child, you likely have questions about the duration of ABA therapy. At Surpass Behavioral Health, we understand that this is a vital aspect to consider when starting this journey toward positive behavioral change. Understanding the timeline of ABA therapy can help you determine if this is the right treatment to support your child with autism spectrum disorder.

How Long Does a Child Need ABA Therapy?

The duration of ABA therapy varies for each child, as it is highly individualized to meet their unique needs. On average, children typically engage in ABA therapy for a period ranging from 3 to 5 years. Children may start with full-time ABA therapy and overtime move into a part-time program. However, it’s essential to remember that ABA therapy is not a one-size-fits-all approach and your child’s progress is continually assessed and treatment plans adjusted, which may influence the length of ABA.

How Long Are ABA Therapy Sessions?

Typically, ABA therapy sessions are scheduled anywhere from 2 to 5 times per week (10-40 hours per week), with each session lasting 3-7 hours. Keep in mind, while children enrolled in full-time ABA may be at their clinic for extended periods of time each day.

Factors That Impact the Duration and Frequency of ABA

The duration and frequency of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) sessions are influenced by a variety of factors that can vary from child to child. Some of these factors include:

ABA Therapy Assessment

Your child’s ABA journey begins with a comprehensive assessment conducted by an experienced Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). This initial assessment helps in understanding your child’s strengths, challenges, and areas that require improvement. Depending on the findings of the assessment, your child’s BCBA will either recommend a full-time or part-time program.

how long aba therapy last for autism

Complexity of Behaviors

One of the major benefits of ABA lies in its ability to address a spectrum of behaviors. Complex or deeply ingrained behaviors may demand more extended and frequent sessions to achieve long-term meaningful progress. However, if your child is experiencing challenges with a select number of behaviors long, frequent sessions may not be necessary.


Age plays a pivotal role in determining the optimal structure of ABA sessions. Younger learners, characterized by shorter attention spans and varying energy levels, may benefit from shorter, more frequent interventions. In contrast, adolescents may engage in more extended sessions, offering the opportunity for in-depth skill development.


The duration of insurance coverage for ABA varies based on the specific terms and policies of your insurance plan. Many insurance providers recognize the effectiveness of ABA in treating autism, and as a result, they often cover ABA therapy as long as deemed medically necessary. It’s important to speak with your insurance provider to gain a better understanding of out-of-pocket costs throughout your child’s ABA therapy journey.

When is a Good Time to Stop ABA Therapy?

Although ABA therapy doesn’t have to be an endless commitment, it is essential to prepare your child for long-term success. Determining the ideal time to end ABA therapy is a collaborative effort involving your child, your family, and your child’s BCBA. Collaborating closely with your child’s BCBA enables you to make a well-informed decision to ensure your child has developed all the necessary skills to thrive beyond your ABA center. Several key factors contribute to this decision-making process, including:

  • Achievement of Goals: ABA therapy continues until your child achieves the goals set in the initial treatment plan. This could include improvements in communication, social skills, and behavioral regulation.
  • Consistency: The child’s ability to consistently demonstrate the desired behaviors across different settings and with various people is a crucial factor.
  • Family Input: The family’s observations and input play a pivotal role in determining when ABA therapy can be concluded. Your family must be confident that your child will thrive post-ABA sessions.

ABA Therapy Programs at Surpass Behavioral Health

The factors influencing the duration and frequency of ABA sessions are as diverse as the children and adolescents seeking support. Navigating your child’s ABA therapy timeline requires a commitment to flexibility, ongoing assessment, and consistency. 

At Surpass Behavioral Health, we are committed to providing high-quality ABA services to support clients in reaching their full potential. Contact us or get started today to learn more about our clinic-based ABA services. Whether your child needs intensive treatment or a more focused program, we are here to help you every step of the way.

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