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About ABA therapy

Affectionate African American mother and daughter playing Affectionate African American mother and daughter playing

What is ABA therapy?

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is an evidence-based method used to improve or change specific behaviors. ABA therapy teaches children by breaking down complex tasks into small and discrete instructional steps. These small steps build on each other toward mastering a complex goal such as functional communication. ABA therapists use praise or favorite items to build on the child’s progress as they master these small steps.

Children affected by ASD often require ABA-based procedures such as prompting and reinforcement to successfully achieve their goals. ABA is also used to replace inappropriate behaviors with appropriate ones. Overall, ABA therapy has been effectively used to improve behaviors like social skills, reading, academics, and communication, as well as learned skills such as grooming, hygiene, fine motor dexterity, job proficiency, and even simple things like a child keeping their room clean.

Family of three playing basketball

What are the benefits of ABA therapy?

One of the main goals of ABA-based treatment is to make a socially meaningful improvement in the family’s and child’s life. To produce optimal outcomes, we equip parents and family members with tools to help teach and respond to the everyday reality of raising a child on the autism spectrum. Specifically, the Butterfly Effects team uses ABA therapy to improve the lives of children with ASD by helping the child:

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    Learn functional

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    Develop meaningful
    social relationships

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    Minimize inappropriate

Is ABA therapy effective?

Why is ABA therapy most often recommended by professionals? Because it works! ABA focuses on the needs of the individual child, whose skills and problem behaviors are first carefully assessed by a highly trained professional.

Skills in these areas are broken down into even finer steps. For example, a child needs to say the word “ball”, not only when they see a ball, but also when they want one. When someone asks them, “What do you throw?” or “Show me the one you hit with a bat?”, the child needs to be able to point to or select a ball when shown a group of objects. This careful assessment of the child’s skills reveals the things the child can do and those that need to be taught. A plan is then developed, which focuses on making the child successful.

First, the skills that need to be taught are further broken down into small steps and the child is assisted (prompted) to progress through these steps and rewarded (positively reinforced) for even small attempts. Then, as the child makes progress, the prompts are gradually removed and the positive reinforcement is given less frequently. By proceeding in this careful, systematic manner, the behavior analyst working with the child can see—and remove—barriers that prevent success, and revise the plan so that success is eventually achieved.

Father playing with his little girl at home Father playing with his little girl at home
Father and sons exercising together in their living room