Autism ABA Therapy Services

Welcome to
Priorities ABA

We specialize in behavioral consulting and therapy services. Our goal is to provide highly effective treatment for children with autism and their families by following a method scientifically proven to bring clear results. We use Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), a method based on extensive, clinical peer reviewed research. We are a local company which offers the benefits of lower costs, flexible service, and familiarity with community resources. We have been helping families since 2001.

Myths and Misconceptions

ABA just uses food and toys to bribe kids into doing things / ABA gets kids hooked on edible rewards.

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One of the most misunderstood concepts of ABA is the value and importance of reinforcement. ABA is a reinforcement based science. We understand that, in life, the things we do that are followed by positive changes in our environment are most often the things we choose to do again. This “success leading to repetition” is what creates our behavior patterns and ultimately helps us to determine the kind of people we are to become. The fact that reinforcement is defined as occurring after a behavior shows that the terms “Bribe” and “Reinforcement” are not synonymous. Bribes involve saying to someone, “If you do this, I will give you this.” Bribes are dependent on a negotiation before the behavior occurs. Since reinforcement occurs only after a behavior is completed, they are not one in the same. In fact, most ABA programs teach that the use of “If, Then,” statements are often contrary to good teaching. Additionally, there is nothing in the definition of reinforcement that dictates what reinforcement is or can be. It only dictates when reinforcement occurs and what it does for a behavior. The actual stimulus that serves as reinforcement should not and cannot be determined by the ABA program developer. Instead, reinforcement is always determined by what actually does increase future behavior.

In general, some forms of food, accessibility of items, physical or mental stimulation, attention, and praise act as the reinforcement for most everything we do. We eat because it tastes good and/or to nourish our bodies, read books because it stimulates our brains in positive ways and tend to be nice to others because it gives us some combination of attention, praise and self-satisfaction. The same is true for children with autism but to differing degrees. Depending on the child, it is quite possible that none of these higher-level stimuli support behavior change. That leaves us with only lower level items to work with at the start of a program. Food, physical play, music, videos, and toys are often good early reinforcers that help a child learn important new skills. But, as important as it is to identify what currently works as reinforcement for a child, it is just as important to increase the amount and level of reinforcement that is meaningful to the child.

Another critical component of a good ABA program is the move to work from lower level reinforcers such as food to higher level reinforcers such as praise over time, and to reduce the frequency at which the child is being reinforced.

Children hear “no” 66% of the time.

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Absolutely not. This tends to come from people who do not understand ABA therapy, and take the x, x, p rule (which is only for MASTERED material) to mean that every time we introduce something new to a child, we always let them get it wrong twice before we ever tell them the answer or help them at all. This would go against all of our training and research about how to introduce a new skill. The other MAJOR flaw with this logic is that it assumes that the child never, ever get anything correct on their own!

Sessions are structured to keep children successful overall!

ABA is a specialized Autism therapy and is not useful for people with other diagnoses.

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ABA is used around the world to help all kinds of people overcome all kinds of social and behavioral problems such as quitting smoking, addressing personality disorders, relationship counseling, obsessive compulsive disorders, and many other common issues. Behavioral principles only began being used for children with autism in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. Studies are available that support the use of ABA programming with children affected by any number of different disabilities including Downs Syndrome, CP, Emotional Disorders, General Developmental Delay, etc.

(adapted from http://knospe-aba.com/cms/en/home/44.html)

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does the research on ABA Therapy show?

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Over the past 40 years, a number of peer-reviewed studies have been completed evaluating the effects of using a specific group of ABA techniques in a “comprehensive, individualized, intensive early intervention program for children with autism,” achieving extremely positive results.  “Comprehensive” refers to the fact that intervention addressees all types of skills; “Early” means that intervention began before the age of four for most children in many of the studies; and “Intensive” referred to the number of hours / week received by the children (ranges between 25-40 hours per week).

What is the difference between a LPA and a BCBA?

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An LPA (Licensed Psychological Associate) is a person with a Master’s degree in psychology and holds a current North Carolina license to practice as a Psychological Associate.  LPA’s are able to practice all areas of psychology (including Behavior Analysis) within their realm of competency.  A BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) is a person with a Master’s degree in one of many fields who has obtained national certification in the understanding and application of behavioral principles.  Neither credential is specific to working with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders, so always make sure that your provider’s training and education included the use of ABA therapy for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Can I, as a parent, be trained to conduct therapy?

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Yes! A strong ABA program is one where the parents are highly involved.  We train parents to teach ABA therapy techniques to their child in addition to the specific programs their child will be learning.  This allows for improved consistency and communication about the child’s program and progress.

 

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