ABA Therapy: What to Expect

This page is about The Basics of ABA Therapy. For a more in-depth look, see ABA Therapy

Comprehensive ABA therapy programs use a combination of teaching techniques to help your child reach their fullest potential. Our programs help children develop through a combination of Discrete Trial Instruction and Natural Environment Teaching. Our Behavior Analysts employ similar teaching techniques in both our centers and community-based programs to help your child flourish across different environments.

Discrete Trial Instruction

Discrete trial instruction (DTI) is best given in a more structured environment. It takes place in different areas of our centers, your home, or out in the community—wherever makes the most sense for your child.

The therapist breaks targeted skills into small tasks that are achievable for each child. Children are given a prompt by the therapist, for example, asking the child to raise their hand, or jump up and down.

If the child completes the requested behavior, it is reinforced with a high preference object. When a behavior is reinforced, the child is more likely to repeat it in the future. If the child does not respond, the therapist gives feedback and moves to the next prompt.

Natural Environment Training

Another cornerstone of ABA therapy is natural environment teaching (NET) which is a more free-flowing session. With NET, teaching takes place in in the child’s preferred environment.

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Instead of having a structured plan, NET takes advantage of naturally occurring teaching opportunities. Our therapists use whatever is motivating the child at that time to help them learn.

If a child is playing with a toy, the therapist will use it as a teaching tool because the most powerful thing in that child’s world is the toy they want to play with at that moment.

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NET allows children to work and play through their normal activities. It is a fast-paced environment that uses a child’s desires in that moment to help them learn more easily.

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