ABA therapy has been shown to benefit a wide range of populations but is most consistently recognized as a treatment for autism spectrum disorders. Any individual needing to improve in a developmental or behavioral area would be considered “eligible” for ABA therapy. Some insurance companies will limit coverage to those individuals who hold an autism spectrum diagnosis.

The sooner you begin intervention the better. Don’t wait! Research into the effectiveness of intervention with students demonstrates better outcome with early intervention. But, it’s never too late to start. The strategies of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) can help individuals of all ages.

Parent involvement and ability to implement Applied Behavior Analysis strategies are essential for obtaining the best long-term outcome for a child. Therefore, we are committed to our partnership with parents. Parents will be asked to participate in some sessions and will have to implement behavior plans with fidelity. We recognize this is a tremendous commitment of time and energy, but we know it is critical to success of the child’s program and both the child’s and the family’s quality of life. All of work our team does with a child is greatly amplified by the involvement and expertise of parents.

Initial assessment results are reviewed with parents by the supervising BCBA. Based on parent input and the child’s strengths and needs, relevant and achievable goals and objectives are chosen and appropriate programming designed.

ABA therapy can take place in the home, community, or school setting.

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Behavior Analysis is the scientific study of behavior. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the application of the principles of learning and motivation from Behavior Analysis, and the procedures and technology derived from those principles, to the solution of problems of social significance. Many decades of research have validated treatments based on ABA.

A target that is in the process of being taught. This behavior is not yet a known skill.
In behavior analytic terms, an antecedent is simply what happened right before the behavior.
Federal civil rights law protecting individuals with disabilities. Enacted in 1990.
A form of autism characterized by normal language and IQ, impaired social skills and restricted interests and activities. Aspergers is often thought of as a high functioning form of autism.
Any method of communicating without speech, such as by signs, gestures, picture boards, or electronic or non electronic devices. These methods can help individuals who are unable to use speech or who need to supplement their speech to communicate.
This is the board certification required for a person to become a Behavior Analyst, and it is recognized worldwide. In the field of ABA, this is the gold standard for professionals. The BCaBA denotes the person is at an associate level, and must work under a BCBA.
Observable and measurable responses to cues in the environment. The future frequency of these responses are influenced by the consequences that follow them.
A written document that becomes part of the IEP and which identifies problem behaviors; sets goals for decreasing unwanted behaviors and increasing desired behaviors; and outlines interventions to use when specific behaviors occur. Sometimes called a behavior management plan.
In behavior analytic terms, a consequence is simply what happens after the behavior. Consequences can be good or bad.
A type of functional assessment which is based on direct observation of the behavior in the natural environment.
A child is given a diagnosis of DD when they are not progressing as they should be and aren’t meeting developmental milestones such as crawling, sitting up, talking, etc.
A method for teaching desired behaviors, skills or tasks. The skill being taught is “ broken” down or sequenced into small, “discrete steps” that are taught in a highly structured and hierarchical manner.
This is a VB term. An echoic is being able to vocally imitate upon request.
Repetition of previously heard words, phrases or sounds. Repetition can be immediate, or may occur days or weeks or even years later (delayed echolalia).
Elopement is when a child wanders away from a person, or an area they are supposed to stay in. This could be a child wandering away from the house, or a child repeatedly running away from the table during a session.
The ability to communicate thoughts and feelings by gesture, sign language, verbalization, or written word.
Special education and related services provided beyond the normal school year, in accordance with the child’s IEP and at no cost to the parents.
The withholding of reinforcement for a previously reinforced behavior, resulting in reduction of that behavior.
The increase in frequency and/or intensity of behavior in the early stages of extinction.
Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is a government mandate that requires school districts to provide education and services that are free of cost and appropriate for all children, regardless of the child’s abilities.
Functional Behavior Analysis. This is the process by which all behavioral interventions are created. An FBA is intended to determine the function (or the reason) for a behavior, and then create an intervention based on that function. A Functional Analysis involves manipulating the environment to understand the behavior, while a Functional Behavior Assessment involves things like observation, interview, and collecting ABC data.
Floortime is a treatment method for Autism that focuses on child -led, play focused activities using a naturalistic approach. Floortime is not a type of ABA due to not being empirically supported.
The ability to take a skill learned in one setting, such as the classroom, and use it in another setting like the home or community.
GFCF stands for Gluten free and Casein free. Gluten is wheat, and Casein is dairy.
These are the activities we do using our larger muscle groups; like sitting, walking & jumping.
Physically guiding an individual through the movements involved in a fine motor task. Helping someone to grasp a spoon and bring it to his or her mouth is an example of hand-over-hand guidance.
Incidental teaching typically involves child-directed activities. The instructor observes and interacts with the child and uses any naturally occurring opportunities to provide relevant instruction (e.g., the child indicates that he wants a drink by pointing to the refrigerator, and the instructor models the correct language).
A written statement of a child’s current level of development (abilities and impairments) and an individualized plan of instruction, including the goals, the specific services to be received, the people who will carry out the services, the standards and time lines for evaluating progress, and the amount and degree to which the child will participate with non-handicapped peers at school. The IEP is developed by the child’s parents and the professionals who evaluated the child. It is required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for all children in special education, age’s three years and up.
A federal law passed in 1997 that reauthorizes and amends the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142). Part C of the law focuses on services to infants and toddlers who are at-risk or have developmental disabilities.
This is the plan of action or the strategy you will use to change a behavior.
This is a VB term. An intraverbal is being able to label or describe an item without any stimuli present. For example if a child can answer the question “How old are you?”
This is a VB term. A mand is basically a “demand”. This is being able to verbally request something that one wants.
Nonverbal Communication – Any form of or attempt at unspoken or “physical” communication. Examples are temper tantrums, gestures, pointing and leading another person to a desired object.
Displaying excessively repetitive and stereotypical behaviors, such as asking for a pretzel 18 times in 5 minutes or repeating a line from a commercial over and over again.
PECS is a communication system for functionally non-verbal individuals. The approach is designed to help young children with autism learn to initiate requests and communicate their needs.
Is a set of procedures designed to increase motivation and promote generalization. It was developed to overcome problems of stimulus overselectivity and motivation. The intervention focuses on a set of specific procedures that increase responsiveness to simultaneous multiple cues. The logic of teaching pivotal target behaviors is that educators might indirectly affect a large number of individual.
This form of assistance or cue given to help your child complete a task. There are several types of prompts: physical prompt, gestural prompt, position prompt, model prompt, verbal prompt, symbolic prompt, and visual prompt.
Prompt dependency is when an individual has become reliant on being assisted with a task, and stops attempting to do the task independently. Or it could be a child who has been prompted to do a task a certain way so many times, that it is very difficult for them to change the way they complete the task.
A behavior modification technique used to increase the likelihood of a desired response or behavior. Positive reinforcement is accomplished by immediately strengthening or rewarding a desirable behavior. The reward can be a social reinforcer, such as praise or a hug, or it can be material, such as a sticker or cookie. One form of negative reinforcement is to withdraw a privilege.
When a reinforcer loses it’s effectiveness due to overuse.
Abnormal behaviors that are harmful to oneself, such as head-banging or scratching or biting oneself.
The ability of the central nervous system to receive, processes, and learn from sensations in order to develop skills. The sensations include touch, movement, sight, sound, smell and the pull.
This is when a child engages in a verbal stim where they repeat, or “script”, phrases or entire sections of a TV show, movie, commercial, etc. Can also be called “self-talk”.
This is when a child responds to a demand by either receptively or expressively linking several responses together. For example, if the child is shown a photo of a firefighter and asked “Who is this?” the child responds by saying “Doctor/Teacher/Firefighter”.
Repetitive body movements or repetitive movement of objects. Often called “stimming” by parents because the behavior appears to be “self-stimulatory.” Examples include: flapping hands, repeating sounds, staring at lights or fans, blinking, wiggling fingers in front of eyes, rubbing surfaces, rocking, spinning, placing unusual objects in mouth, and smelling or sniffing objects.
The ability of the central nervous system to receive, processes, and learn from sensations in order to develop skills. The sensations include touch, movement, sight, sound, smell and the pull.
This is a Verbal Behavior term. A tact is to label or describe an item with stimuli being present. For example, a child can tact if they can label the color of a ball if the ball is present.
This is the behavior of interest you are trying to increase, or decrease. You may have multiple target behaviors you are working on or just one.
Verbal Behavior is a commonly utilized ABA technique. It uses B. F. Skinner’s 1957 analysis of Verbal Behavior to teach and reinforce speech, along with other skills. Skinner described categories of speech, or verbal behavior: A VB program will focus on getting a child to realize that language will get him what he wants, when he wants it. Requesting is often one of the first verbal skills taught; children are taught to use language to communicate, rather than just to label items. Learning how to make requests also should improve behavior. Some parents say VB is a more natural form of ABA.


Autism Society of Colorado –

The mission of the Autism Society of Colorado is to improve the lives of all affected by autism. This includes families, providers, educators, and members of the community.

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities –

The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) has provided information and resources to the nation on disabilities in children and youth for many decades.

Behavior Analyst Certification Board –

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board®, Inc. (BACB®) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation established in 1998 to meet professional credentialing needs identified by behavior analysts, governments, and consumers of behavior analysis services. The BACB adheres to the national standards for boards that grant professional credentials.

Autism Speaks –

Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Bob and Suzanne Wright, grandparents of a child with autism. Their longtime friend Bernie Marcus donated $25 million to help financially launch the organization. Since then, Autism Speaks has grown into the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

The Autism Doctor –

Dr. Udell is a leader in the healthcare industry with over thirty years of experience. Presently, Dr. Udell is practicing behavioral pediatrics in Davie, FL where he has focused on children with developmental disabilities including ADHD and Autism.

Autism Society –

The Autism Society, the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization, exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism.