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ABA Therapy

What Makes ABA Therapy Different From Other Autism Therapies?

Children with autism can benefit from a variety of valuable therapies, including Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. There are a few key differences between ABA therapy and other autism therapies every parent should keep in mind.

ABA therapy was developed for children with autism

Very few therapies have been developed specifically for children with autism, and ABA therapy is considered the gold standard among them. Every element of ABA therapy is informed by how children with autism think, learn, and operate. This singular focus on autism is why ABA therapy is so successful.

Think about how a child with autism learns a specific, complex skill, such as putting on a winter jacket. In ABA therapy, that skill is broken down into small, digestible steps—take the jacket off the hook, put your right arm in the right sleeve, zip up the jacket, etc.—so the child can learn one step at a time. This methodology is never random or one-size-fits-all. Every step is purposeful and informed by both an academic knowledge of autism and a personal understanding of the child’s current skill level.

This extends to how positive reinforcement is delivered, how interventions are implemented, how children with autism are assessed, and more. Every element of an ABA therapy treatment plan is built on a deep knowledge of autism and what makes children with autism special.

ABA therapy is intensive

Perhaps the primary difference between ABA therapy and other autism therapies is the level of intensity. A child with autism might see their speech therapist or their occupational therapist once a week for 30 minutes or an hour. Make no mistake: This is important and valuable time. Each element of a child’s autism treatment plan is vital. But ABA therapy is much more immersive and intensive.

Children with autism need a bare minimum of ten hours of ABA therapy per week or the therapy will not be successful. Most children will receive anywhere from 15 to 40 hours of ABA therapy every week. This level of intensity is crucial to the effectiveness of ABA therapy. Studies have shown that children who receive more hours of therapy show greater, longer-lasting improvements in cognitive function and other areas.

ABA therapy can be customized for each child with autism

A comprehensive autism treatment plan may include speech therapy, occupational therapy, and newer therapies, such as art and music therapy. Many of these therapies center around a specific set of skills or a specific therapeutic method.

For example, speech therapy is focused on language and communication skills. This might include body language and facial expressions to clear pronunciation and appropriate tone of voice. While a speech-language pathologist (SLP) will utilize a variety of tools and techniques to teach these critical skills, the focus remains on a defined group of goals and outcomes.

Another example: Some children with autism may go to music therapy as part of their treatment plan. Music therapy can support the development of a surprising breadth of skills, including motor skills, social and emotional skills, language skills, and even cognitive development. There is great variety to what music therapy can accomplish. This type of therapy is administered exclusively through music-based experiences.

Unlike therapies that focus on a defined set of skills or a single category of therapeutic methods, ABA therapy is incredibly diverse. ABA therapy combines functional and behavioral learning to teach a virtually limitless number of skills and behaviors. And every element of an ABA therapy treatment plan is customized to support the growth and development of the unique child. An ABA therapy professional can work with a child at home, at school, or at an autism center to teach everyday skills, classroom behaviors, and more. If one method isn’t yielding the desired outcome, there are many others to try. The flexibility and versatility of ABA therapy make it truly unique.

To learn more about what sets ABA therapy apart from other autism therapies, talk to the team at Applied ABC >

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ABA Therapy Basics

Examples Of ABA Therapy

How ABA Therapy Works At Applied ABC

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