Applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy has changed countless of autistic children’s lives, but some people also had bad experiences with it.

This article highlights how ABA therapy improves autistic kids’ quality of life and what you can do to choose an accredited therapist who can effectively assist your child with achieving their desired goals.

What is ABA therapy?

ABA therapy is a form of treatment that helps autistic children learn new social, educational, emotional, and cognitive skills.

Just as importantly, ABA therapy is used to address and reduce problematic behaviors among kids with autism.

This technique is one of the most widely-renowned methods for managing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptoms.

Is ABA a safe form of therapy?

Yes, it certainly is. In fact, ABA therapy is evidence backed, which means that its principles are based on thorough and extensive academic studies and research.

ABA is a scientifically-proven and medically-recognized therapy, especially when it comes to minimizing autistic children’s engagement in socially and physically damaging actions.

Does ABA force children to do things that are physically painful?

No, ABA therapists should never force kids to act or behave in a physically-painful way.

This is not to say that ABA can’t be uncomfortable. For that matter, your son or daughter may need time to gradually get used to it and feel secure around the therapist, but it isn’t a painful process at all.

The Controversy

ABA therapy is surrounded by some controversy. To clarify, ABA’s techniques revolve around rewarding your autistic child when they behave in a desired manner, such as by giving them a snack, letting them play with their toys, or allowing them to watch their favorite TV show.

As far as the controversy goes, critics point out that ABA therapy makes children robot-like because they don’t actually understand why a certain behavior is sensible or considered positive. Instead, their main incentive is the reward.

To avoid running into this problem, you want to ensure that you pick a qualified, experienced, and certified ABA specialist for your autistic son or daughter.

How to know if your ABA therapist is qualified

While you interview and screen potential therapists for your child, you must keep a close eye on their training, certifications, and credentials. If a therapist has had improper training or does not follow the proper techniques, they have the potential to increase negative behaviors.

Namely, you should hire a therapist that is either:

  • A Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).
  • A holder of another certification that was issued by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).
  • A graduate student who is studying ABA and, in the same vein, is being directly supervised by a BCBA on a weekly basis.

Professionals that have one or more of the above attainments can create a treatment program that suits your kid’s specific needs and circumstances.

How do you know if your child’s ABA therapist is providing appropriate therapy?

The appropriateness and effectiveness of the therapist’s techniques are equally as important as their credentials. In other words, the right ABA professional would rely on methods that particularly focus on the results that you would like your child to achieve.

To illustrate, here are a few things that can help you and your autistic son or daughter with reaching your objectives:

Set Goals

As a parent, you want to initially sit down with your child’s therapist to talk about your goals. This should be discussed with clarity and preciseness before your kid’s first ABA session.

Build an Individualized Therapy Plan

Similarly, the therapist has to create a custom plan that is centered on your child’s individual aims, needs, and desires.

Examples of those are improving their conversational skills, helping them perform better in social settings, and enabling them to sit still in class or at the dinner table.

Make Changes When Necessary

Simply put, you should make changes and adjustments when you realize that the ABA sessions aren’t yielding the aspired results. At times, the therapist may have to modify one or more of their approaches.

However, switching to another therapy provider must not be ruled out when necessary.

Above all, when you make these decisions, you want to do so based on whether or not your kid is learning new skills and/or getting better at managing their problematic behaviors.

ABA therapy is safe and physically harmless as long as a qualified and certified practitioner is providing it. Just as importantly, it is also efficient and effective when the therapist utilizes methods that cater to your son or daughter’s individual needs, goals, and desires.



If you are ready to work with the best ABA therapy provider in New York, New Jersey or Indiana, give us a call at (732) 402-0297. Our dedicated team is ready to help and we will treat you like family.

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