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Frequently asked questions
What is ABA Therapy?
ABA, or “Applied Behavior Analysis,” is the standard of care for the treatment of autism
spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities. ABA therapy is rooted in the
scientific study of the principles of learning and behavior. In ABA therapy, we use
specialized assessment methods to understand what motivates your child. We then use this
motivation to teach your child socially significant behaviors.
Applied behavior analysis is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon
the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful
degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the
improvement in behavior (Baer, Wolf & Risley, 1968; Sulzer-Azaroff & Mayer, 1991).
What skills are targeted in an ABA therapy program?
ABA treatment frequently is used to build such skills as:
Adaptive living skills (including feeding, dressing, bathing, etc.)
Expressive language (including labeling objects, people, and emotions)
Receptive language (including following directions, selecting objects from a greater field)
Play & leisure skills (including how to play with toys, expanding interestsoutside of electronics)
Social skills (including initiating conversations, responding to questions from peers, engaging in interactive play)
Basic academic and pre-academic skills
Ready-to-learn behaviors (including sitting in a chair at a desk or table, refraining from grabbing materials when presented and looking at the instructor)
Who is eligible for ABA Therapy?
ABA Therapy has been shown to benefit a wide range of populations but is most consistently recognized treatment for autism spectrum disorders. Any individual needing to improve in a developmental or behavioral area would be considered “eligible” for ABA Therapy.
How does ABA help language and communication?
ABA therapy stresses receptive, and expressive language skills by working on structured
programs to measure vocabulary and expand capabilities in matching features and functions.
ABA goes beyond what a speech therapist does by mixing language programs with play
programs, academic programs, motor skills, and activities of daily living such as toileting.
ABA teaches all of the verbal operants or functional units of language as described by
Skinner in his book Verbal Behavior.
When these units of language are systematically taught using principles of ABA, a child with
autism benefits through an increase in receptive and expressive language, including
communication, or requesting.
How can I inquire about ABA Therapy with Shaping Positive Behaviors?
Your first step is to contact us. Use either our online form or call our office directly at 901-
How does ABA help build social interaction skills?
ABA assists in developing social interaction skills when working on programs related to
turn-taking, conversation and other skills that neuro-typical kids may pick up naturally. By
identifying those individual areas where a child on the spectrum has deficits and building the
developmental skills using ABA, social skills can be remediated.
How important is learning academics for my child?
It depends on what your goals are for your child and what your child’s unique skills and
deficits are. In some cases, social skills and activities of daily living may make a bigger
difference in their ability to lead full lives. In other cases, further focus via ABA on academic
skills might enhance a passion that they have that could lead to career skills or the ability to
hold a job.
Who is a BCBA and why do I need one?
A Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) is a trained behavior analyst who holds a
master’s degree in behavior therapy and has passed the national BCBA board certification
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What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.
- Zig Ziglar