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

Skills only “work” at the table, with the therapist.

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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.

ABA takes childhood away from the child.

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Just the opposite – with ABA therapy, we are striving to give childhood BACK to the child by them the skills that they need to communicate with others (adults and children), to play, to understand what toys are for and how to use them, and to generally be able to access the community and enjoy life.

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.

More Myths & Misconceptions

Frequently Asked Questions

Where does therapy take place?

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Therapy can take place in the home, community, or school setting depending on what is appropriate for each child.

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.

What does ABA teach?

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ABA therapy programs are comprehensive and cover a variety of areas the child needs to be successful. Skills are broken down into small steps. These steps are then arranged into a clear and logical hierarchy and taught one small step at a time. These areas include Language skills, Behavioral skills, Cognitive/Academic skills, Social skills, Self Help/Daily Living skills, Motor skills, and Play/Leisure skills. The overall goal for a good ABA program should always be that the child is learning to learn!

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