Understanding ABA Therapy

Understanding Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy is a dynamic and evidence-based intervention for children with autism to promote positive outcomes. ABA therapy empowers children with autism spectrum disorder to acquire new skills and achieve greater independence, ultimately fostering a higher quality of life. Understanding how ABA works and the benefits, can help you make an informed decision about whether or not this approach is right for your child.

What is ABA Therapy?

ABA therapy is a scientifically proven method that focuses on understanding and modifying behaviors in a positive and constructive manner. ABA therapy employs data-driven techniques to help children acquire new skills in areas such as communication, social interaction, and daily living.

By analyzing the relationship between behavior and its environment, Behavior Analysts develop individualized treatment plans to increase positive behaviors and decrease challenging ones. These new skills should extend beyond therapy sessions, with the goal of children and teens being able to generalize them across different settings and situations.

How Does ABA Therapy Work for Autism?

The ABA therapy process begins with a comprehensive assessment, conducted by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). This assessment is used to analyze a child’s current strengths, challenges, and goals. Based on this assessment, a personalized treatment plan is developed, outlining specific behavioral targets and intervention strategies based on your child’s individual needs.

A Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) will then work 1:1 with your child during weekly ABA sessions to help them achieve their goals using a variety of techniques and positive reinforcement strategies. RBTs collect data during each child’s session to provide information that allows the BCBA to adjust treatment plans for optimal progress.

Benefits of ABA Therapy

  • Improves social skills and life skills (Walsh, 2011): Children with an autism diagnosis may struggle with social interactions and independent life skills, such as brushing their teeth or getting dressed. ABA therapy uses positive reinforcement to follow the child’s lead and discover their greatest interests. Our therapists meet each child where they are and expand on their current skill set. Behavior Analysts and Behavior Technicians work together with each child to build these skills by incorporating interactive play through games, role-playing, and visual support.  
  • Parent/caregiver involvement (Walsh, 2011): Parent involvement is a vital piece of ABA therapy. ABA therapy incorporates parent training to ensure families are equipped to provide their child with guidance and support needed beyond their scheduled therapy sessions. Implementing parenting strategies discussed in ABA therapy can help reduce stress, create a happier and healthier family life, and most importantly, improve each child’s quality of life.  
  • Customized treatment (Ostrovsky et al., 2022): Each child is unique, so their treatment plan should be too. Each child’s Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) will assess their current skills and knowledge before developing a customized plan to align with their needs and goals that will guide their therapy sessions. This ensures each child’s therapy is targeting the areas of behavior that will most benefit their child and that they are getting the level of care they deserve. 

ABA Therapy Techniques for Autism

ABA therapy employs a range of techniques and strategies that are effective in addressing the needs of teens and children with autism. One common technique is Discrete Trial Training (DTT), which involves breaking down complex skills into manageable steps through structured, repeated practice with clear prompts and reinforcement. Another technique, Natural Environment Teaching (NET), takes advantage of everyday situations to teach and reinforce skills within a person’s natural surroundings. Other frequently used strategies include functional communication training and prompting and fading.

Is ABA Therapy Covered By Insurance?

ABA therapy insurance coverage varies but has evolved over time. Many insurance providers now recognize the importance of ABA therapy for individuals with an autism diagnosis, leading to increased coverage options. However, the extent of coverage can depend on factors such as the specific insurance plan, state regulations, and your child’s diagnosis. Some states have enacted laws that mandate insurance coverage for ABA therapy for individuals with autism, while others may offer varying degrees of coverage. At Surpass Behavioral Health, we are in-network with a majority of insurance providers and work closely with parents to navigate these insurance intricacies.

Is ABA Therapy Effective?

ABA therapy, when conducted by trained and compassionate professionals, uses evidence-based practices to promote a safe, fun, and engaging learning environment. In 1987, the grandfather of ABA therapy, Dr. Ivar Lovaas, concluded that 90% of children with autism make positive gains through ABA therapy. Studies continue to show that ABA therapy can be successful in helping individuals with autism develop new skills while reducing negative behaviors.

Despite past hesitation stemming from outdated methodologies, reputable ABA therapy centers today do not endorse punishment and instead rely on positive-reinforcement approaches. At Surpass Behavioral Health, we only utilize evidence-based positive reinforcement and pairing approaches in ABA therapy. This helps ensure a positive and supportive environment for children that creates meaningful, long-term behavior change.

ABA Therapy at Surpass Behavioral Health

Surpass Behavioral Health is dedicated to providing high-quality ABA therapy services for children and teens with autism. By adhering to core ABA principles, implementing personalized treatment plans, and fostering a nurturing environment, our goal is to help our clients develop essential life skills and achieve their full potential. If you’re seeking comprehensive and compassionate ABA therapy, Surpass Behavioral Health is the partner you can trust. Contact us today to learn more or get started today.

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