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 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.

ABA is all table work.

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While ABA therapy programs do involve table work, ABA therapy is NOT solely “table work.” The therapy is a comprehensive program which involves time working and playing at the table, away from the table, in the backyard, around the house, in the community, at school, in structured peer play sessions, and anywhere else the child needs to be able to learn and apply skills! ABA also involves a lot of time spent engaged in fun, reinforcing activities to ensure that the child is enjoying therapy time.

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.

More Myths & Misconceptions

Frequently Asked Questions

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!

Who oversees my ABA program?

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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).

Is ABA helpful for Aspergers/PDD-NOS/High functioning Autism?

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ABA therapy is used all over the world to help people overcome all types of social and behavioral problems. ABA has been used to help smokers quit smoking, address personality disorders and relationship counseling, treat obsessive compulsive disorders and replace bad habits.  Behavioral principles became a treatment option for autistic children in the late 1960’s. Studies are available that support the use of ABA programming with children affected by a number of different disabilities including Downs’ Syndrome, CP, Emotional Disorders, General Developmental Delay, etc.

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