ABA Therapy for Autism

Today we are talking about ABA therapy for autism related challenges. ABA stands for Applied Behavioral Analysis and is based on positive reinforcement (e.g., verbal and tangible). This treatment approach for people with Autism has become widely accepted among health care professionals and used in many schools and treatment clinics for children with Autism.

Individuals with autism often have unique areas of strength, including well developed visual-spatial skills, excellent analytical and/or quantitative reasoning, nonverbal reasoning abilities, and a passion for learning. Therapists implementing ABA principals assess these areas of strength to encourage internal motivation and progress of individuals with Autism. Therefore, leading to more natural and desired success in home, school, and social life.

By utilizing an individual’s strengths in ABA therapy for autism, therapists can develop a plan for:

  • Attention and organization
  • Academic success and learning styles
  • Sensory sensitivities and aversions
  • Communication skills
  • Friendship building abilities
  • Self-care and daily routines (e.g., meal preparation, toileting, following house routines)

Across studies, the majority of children who have received ABA have made progress in their communication, social skills, and daily routines when they receive high-quality ABA interventions. The three step process used by all effective ABA programs includes:

  1. Recognizing the antecedent to the behavior. This may be a visual, verbal or sensory experience that the individual is having
  2. Observing the resulting behavior, including the frequency and intensity of the behavior. This may also include a lack of response.
  3. Noting the consequence to the behavior. This may be any positive or negative reinforcement that is occurring after the behavior.

Once the therapist collects this data, they create a plan for either reducing or increasing particular behaviors. In addition, the course of the behavior is tracked over time and any adjustments are made as needed. Each ABA program should be developed for the unique needs of each individual. Furthermore, each therapist should work to understand the individual’s motivators, interests, family situation, skill sets and strengths to encourage success of the ABA therapy program. A therapist should never use “canned” ABA interventions, as tailored techniques and approaches are most effective for each individual.

Contact us today to schedule your free consultation with our behavior specialist or clinical psychologist. We serve families in San Diego North County, including Carlsbad, Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe, Escondido and surrounding cities.


About Susan Gehrig, PhD

Susan Gehrig, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and founder of Paradox Psychological Services located in Carlsbad. She has a passion for supporting the wellbeing of children and teens. Her expertise is in child mindfulness and self-compassion, cognitive behavioral therapy, and child development. Dr. Gehrig provides psychoeducational testing and therapy services to help build a plan for success. Paradox provides services for families of San Diego North County and greater areas.

1 comment on “ABA Therapy for Autism

  1. It’s interesting to know that ABA therapy can help with autism. It makes sense that it would, considering how positive reinforcement tends to help. I hope to see this become a more popular method of therapy!

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