What is ABA Therapy?

Targeting skills + behaviors

ABA therapy is an evidence-based approach supported by decades of research. The goal of this therapy is promote independence and foster communication, social, and life skills. When performed in our intensive-but-engaging environment, ABA can be the most effective treatment for individuals with autism. Although ABA has, in the past, been known as a strict and rigid therapy, we use it in an engaging way that helps children adapt to new environments and learn to thrive independently. Here at Cardinal, we administer therapy to your child in a way that is fun, customized an engaging. We pride ourselves on making learning new skills fun!

Child receiving modern ABA therapy at The Cardinal Center

The History of ABA

ABA started off with a fundamental principle: if positive behavior is rewarded and negative behavior is reprimanded, bad behavior will cease and good behavior will be repeated. Modern ABA therapy takes this idea and expands on it to create measurable results that can be analyzed so progress can be tracked and interventions can be made.

The earliest forms of ABA therapy approached autism as a problem that could be “fixed” or “cured” simply by discouraging certain behaviors. The notion that ABA paid little attention to the individual’s thoughts and feelings, and instead cared only for extinguishing signs of autism, made it the subject of controversy in past decades.

Fortunately, this is an outdated school of thought. Since then, centers for ABA have advanced to embrace the diversity of children with autism, and not to “fix” them so much as help them adapt to new situations and environments by engaging them in age-appropriate activities — without the use of harsh tactics that resemble punishment.

How Does ABA Therapy Work?

Modern ABA seeks to cater to what motivates your child and, furthermore, to understand why they do things. This helps to build skills and diminish challenging behaviors. Through ABA therapy, children can learn appropriate coping mechanisms and skills needed to thrive independently.

ABA therpaist helping a child with autism

How to Get Started

At The Cardinal Center for Behavior Analysis, the first step in developing a treatment plan is understand your child. We know each child is unique so their therapy should be unique too. Your child will come to the center and play with a therapist and their skills will be assessed. After the initial assessment, the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) crafts a custom treatment to build skills that are important to you.

After beginning services, therapy will take place under the guidance of a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT), who will work with your child one-on-one to build skills and decrease negative behaviors. Our technicians are highly skilled and well-versed in behavior analysis. They work to find ways to make learning fun and engaging for each individual.

Whatever your goals are for your child, our objective is to create a positive learning environment so their time feels less like therapy and more like fun!

What Treatment Will Look Like

Every treatment plan for every child with ASD will look different, because it’ll be tailored to your child’s needs and strengths. As your child’s sessions continue, their technician will work directly with your child to create a fun and engaging program. The BCBA and RBT will apply rewards and measure the results of their goals.

Why Choose ABA?

ABA is a data-driven therapy that breaks down large skills into smaller, more manageable ones. ABA has substantially more research-based support than any other intervention for children with ASD. Measuring the results of ABA sessions indicates which treatments have been effective at increasing skills and decreasing disruptive behaviors. Because your child’s progress is monitored closely, their treatment plan can be easily altered to suit their needs and goals.

Part of the success of modern ABA therapy is also its ability to be administered in natural settings, like home, store, the park, etc. Your child can immediately use skills they learned at the clinic in other environments. ABA relies heavily on parents and caregivers to stay involved and consistent with therapies, so our therapists will work with you every step of the way in implementing these strategies.

Modern ABA therapy can help children in many environments, incudling parks
Child having fun during ABA therapy at Cardinal

The Cardinal Center Difference

At The Cardinal Center for Behavior Analysis, we take a positive approach to ABA and aim to create an engaging and encouraging environment for our clients. We believe that ABA should be fun for your child and should not feel like therapy to them at all!

Our highly trained and qualified BCBAs and RBTs cannot wait to meet you. Give us a call today at (919) 822-8802 to learn more about our approach to ABA therapy!