Nov 9

Have a child with behavior problems? Interested in ABA but want to know how behavior therapy can work with your child? If you are struggling with a child who doesn’t listen or has trouble attending, ABA therapy could provide a direct approach to improving skills like these. Here is an inside look at a typical ABA session.

Beginning Services: An initial consultation is done by a BCBA to learn the specifics of the child’s needs and also what the parents would like to focus on. A specific behavior plan is written for each child which includes goals to improve weaknesses and also outlines specific ways to teach that child by using their strengths. These goals can be taught in home, school or community settings.

An initial consultation is done by a BCBA to learn the specifics of the child’s needs and also what the parents would like to focus on. A specific behavior plan is written for each child which includes goals to improve weaknesses and also outlines specific ways to teach that child by using their strengths. These goals can be taught in home, school or community settings.

Typical Session:

  • The Behavior Therapist will arrive at the families’/client’s home, school or day center, and will prepare the data sheets, the schedule for the day and possibly the token economy.
  • They will decide which goals to prioritize and how they will be implemented.

Example goal: The child will tact (or name) at least 10 items (people, objects, or pictures) reliably on command.

Example implementation: Playing “I Spy”

  • The family, teacher or guardian will be asked about the client’s day or week, and they will be asked to show the data they collected outside of the sessions if applicable.
  • The Behavior Therapist will start the intervention session with a preference/reinforcer assessment. Two preferred items will be presented to the client. The Behavior Therapist will ask the client which do they want to work for. The chosen reinforcer will serve as motivation for the client to complete the first task.
  • The programs will be implemented (programs are based on specific goals on Behavior Intervention Plan including self-help skills, play skills, social skills, attending skills and communication skills).
  • The client will work with the Behavior Therapist to complete tasks, then will earn reinforcements like playing with toys, a break, tickles, a sensory break or playing a game with the Behavior Therapist.
  • The session will follow this pattern of running programs and offering reinforcement until the session has ended. The Behavior Therapist is continually tracking data during all programs to measure client’s growth.
  • Occasionally, the Clinical Supervisor will join the session, depending on a number of supervision hours that are authorized. He or she will provide feedback to the Behavior Therapist, model certain strategies and provide training to caregivers/teachers. Also, he/she will analyze the data that are being collected, and possibly modify programs and/or objectives.
  • At the end of the session, the Behavior Therapist will graph the data and remind the caregivers/teachers to practice the ABA strategies outside of the sessions, and continue to collect data outside of the sessions.

During each session, a Behavior Therapist will use several strategies that increase the success of a session. By continuing to offer choices, the client will have an increased internal motivation to complete the task or work for the chosen reward. Example: “Do you want to practice tying your left shoe or your right shoe first?” Behavior Therapists also create behavior momentum by having the client perform several easier tasks before introducing a more difficult task. This momentum often leads to higher compliance. Strategies like these can be taught to parents during parent training and modeled during a session.

If you are interested in receiving ABA services for your child or would like additional information, please contact: lily

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