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 have been helping families since 2001.
ABA does not teach a child HOW or WHY to do something; it only trains them to behave in a certain way.
This deals with the mistaken idea that in ABA programs, children are not being taught to be independent thinkers but merely trained to react to stimuli. All learning has some aspect of rote memorization and practiced routine, whether you are in an ABA program, regular school classroom, or simply learning from your parents at home. There are always going to be things that a child is expected to do, “Just because Mom / Dad / Teacher said so.” Additionally, there will always be a behavior we choose without thinking. When discussing “training,” one is generally talking about creating habits of behavior – things we do without thinking about them. However, this fact has nothing to do with ABA but rather how all people learn. Many of our behavior choices in life are reactions and habits. When it is time to brush your teeth you do not think about each of the behaviors used to make that happen (wetting the toothbrush, squeezing the toothpaste, raising your hand to your mouth etc.). These habits have all formed the way they have because guided practice has led to success. Success then leads to repetition. It is true that ABA is very successful in breaking down seemingly simple tasks such as brushing teeth and teaching them in small steps to help a child find success where they might not otherwise. However, the premise that ABA is limited to only teaching this sort of memorized or habitual task is absolutely false.
Just like any form of teaching, a good ABA program needs to be designed to teach to all the needs of the individual. This includes concepts such as complex language, social interaction, problem solving, flexible thinking, and theory of mind (such as understanding things from other people’s perspectives). Although these skills are much more complex in nature, they are not immune to the same behavioral principles that guide all of our learning. The issue then becomes, “how creative and experienced is the person running the ABA program at addressing this sort of learning?” In the early days of ABA, there was less experience addressing these more complex learning processes. Thus, some early ABA programs may have been deficient. However, that was a result of the professional’s inexperience applying the principles and not problems with the principles themselves. The benefit of ABA is that it is a science and therefore progress made anywhere in the world is made available to all through the studies published in scientific journals. Over the past 40 years there have been an uncountable number of breakthroughs and experience gained addressing even the most complex human issues with the principles of ABA. It is important to remember that ABA is the science of what works.
Skills only “work” at the table, with the therapist.
If skills are only taught in one place with one person in one way, yes, that is how they are likely to be exhibited. However, as stated above, a good ABA program incorporates generalization components from an early stage to prevent just this aspect. The entire goal of the program is “learning to learn,” meaning that the child will not only be able to demonstrate learned skills in any environment with any person, they will also be able to LEARN new skills in other environments, from other people.
Discourages socialization by keeping kids home.
ABA therapy encourages socialization by teaching children the pre-requisite skills they need to be successful in a social environment before placing them into an automatic self-contained placement. When children are placed into a more stressful social school or other social environments without the pre-requisite skills, they are significantly more likely to have an increased level of behavioral programs, which decreases the likelihood that they will be successful in a classroom setting and make friends. Compare this to being dropped off at college while you were only a high school freshman – would you have been ready socially?
Where does therapy take place?
Therapy can take place in the home, community, or school setting depending on what is appropriate for each child.
Can I, as a parent, be trained to conduct therapy?
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.
Who oversees my ABA program?
ABA falls under the jurisdiction of the Psychology Board, therefore a licensed psychologist or licensed psychological associate must oversee your child’s program. Just having a BCBA does not allow a person to practice Psychology. All of our consultants are both licensed psychologists (LPA) and Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA).