What is ABA?
(And other common questions)

You’ve noticed certain behaviors in your child, and you’ve heard ABA therapy can help. But what exactly is it, and is it a good fit for your child? Find out everything you need to know below.

Child with teacher taking out large chalk crayons from a box
What is ABA?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a therapy based on the science of learning and behavior. ABA treatment plans are created specifically for your child, their challenges, and your family’s needs.

ABA helps you understand why your child has certain behaviors. It then works to increase positive behaviors and decrease negative ones, helping your child become more independent and successful in both the short and long term.

Who is ABA therapy for?

ABA is a common therapy for children with:

  • Behavioral challenges
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Other developmental conditions

Noticing troubling behaviors in your child, but no diagnosis yet? No problem. Our expert team will walk you through the process. Click here to get started, at no cost or commitment.

What specific behaviors can ABA therapy address?

Here are some specific examples of behaviors that might indicate that a child could benefit from ABA therapy:

  • Difficulty with social interactions and communication, such as avoiding eye contact, not responding to their name, or having limited or non-existent language skills
  • A lack of interest in activities and interactions with others, such as playing alone or not showing interest in toys or games
  • Difficulty with daily activities, such as dressing and grooming, or having trouble using utensils to eat
  • Engaging in repetitive or self-injurious behaviors, such as hand-flapping, head-banging, or biting themselves
  • Exhibiting aggressive or disruptive behavior, such as hitting, biting, or throwing tantrums
  • Having difficulty with attention and focus, such as being easily distracted or having difficulty following instructions
  • Struggling with academic tasks, such as reading, writing, or math
  • Having difficulty with impulse control, such as interrupting others or blurting out answers
  • Engaging in ritualistic or obsessive behaviors, such as arranging objects in a certain way or repeating certain actions or phrases

These are just a few examples, and it is important to keep in mind that every child is different and may exhibit a wide range of behaviors. If you are concerned about your child's behavior, our team is happy to guide you as to whether ABA therapy can help.

How does ABA therapy work?

ABA therapy is completely adapted to the needs of your child and family. As such, it can involve many different techniques for understanding and changing behavior. However, here are a couple of common principles and techniques in any ABA program.

Positive reinforcement

Together, you and your BCBA will set goal behaviors based on your child’s challenges and family’s needs. Your therapist will teach and practice them with your child. Each time your child does the behavior successfully, they get a meaningful reward. Over time, this encourages them to do positive behaviors more often.

Antecedent, behavior, consequence

Understanding antecedents and consequences helps you understand why your child has certain behaviors and how different “consequences” affect whether it will happen again.

• Antecedent: What occurs right before a behavior. This can be a verbal request, a physical object, or a stimulus from the environment such as light or sound.

• Behavior: How your child reacts or doesn’t react to the antecedent. This can be an action, a verbal response, or something else. (This behavior can be referred to as the “target behavior,” the response we are looking to change.)

• Consequence: What comes right after the behavior. This can be the child getting attention or a preferred item, escaping from a non-preferred task, or sensory stimulation as a result of their behavior.

I’ve heard ABA therapy can be controversial. Is it in any way harmful?

ABA therapy has evolved a lot since it was created in the 1960s. Today, quality ABA therapy focuses on producing significant outcomes for our clients through a variety of positive and naturalistic methods. As the therapy happens at home, you will know exactly how the BCBA works with your child with complete transparency. If you have any concerns at all, we want to hear them and are happy to answer all of your questions.

Who provides ABA services?

A Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) oversees the treatment from the evaluation process to creating the treatment plan, supervising staff, and collaborating with families.

Behavior Technicians (BTs) or Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) provide the services, under the direction of the BCBA. You may also hear them called Behavioral Therapists.

At Ambitions, we work with certified BCBAs, BTs, and RBTs with ample experience in order to guarantee the best care for your child. We do everything we can to find the best fit for your child’s and family’s needs. Of course, you can interview your child’s Behavioral Therapist before they begin to make sure it’s a good fit.

Where and when can my child receive ABA?

We make ABA therapy simple by bringing it to your home, your child's school, or where your child feels most comfortable. View and manage your existing appointments at any time of day with our easy-to-use online client portal.

Is ABA covered by my health insurance?

ABA therapy is covered by many types of health insurance, including Medicaid. Our team at Ambitions has decades of experience in the healthcare industry and dealing with insurance companies. We’ll arrange an evaluation to find out if you qualify for full insurance coverage and take the billing burden off your back.

Is ABA the right fit for my child?

We carefully assess each case individually and discuss your needs in detail to determine if ABA will help your child have the best chances of success in life. We want you to feel confident in making an informed decision. Feel free to reach out at no cost or commitment and we’ll gladly answer any questions you may have.

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