As parents, we want to see our children thrive and live a happy life. When they don’t quite hit certain developmental milestones, we start to wonder what we can do to help them. Many families turn to data-driven therapy modules like Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to help their children catch up to their peers.


What Is ABA Therapy?

ABA therapy can be a helpful tool for children and adults with neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism and ADHD. It is a holistic approach to addressing a patient’s needs.

Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) know every client is different and deserves an individualized approach to their therapy. Studies show ABA therapy can help with developmental milestones, including language, focus, emotional regulation, and more.

How Can ABA Therapy Help Nurture Developmental Milestones?

ABA therapy nurtures developmental milestones in several ways, including addressing support needs, skill acquisition, family involvement, and much more.

Addressing Areas of Additional Support

Whether your child is on the autism spectrum or has other developmental needs, ABA can focus on areas that might benefit from additional support. While goals can be very general or highly specific to the child, there’s a way to guide them to new heights.

Common areas of support include social skills (listening, interacting with others, and more) and daily routines (doing chores, maintaining hygiene, or similar). As opposed to trying to help the child do every chore all at once or expecting them to complete the task successfully in a day, ABA clinicians break down the tasks into smaller, more accessible steps. With time, the steps are put together, making it easier to remember each one and complete the sequence.

Encourages Skill Acquisition

Through safe, structured environments like a clinic, home, or school, clinicians encourage patients to develop new, practical skills. If a patient hasn’t developed skills like handling money or shopping for themselves, that might be a goal that ABA could help nurture. Additionally, motor skills like picking up utensils or creative ones like coloring can be a goal.

 BCBAs know a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t enough for their clients. They are diligent and committed to customizing a plan that benefits children for a lifetime.

Supports Family Involvement

Collaboration is essential in ABA and the family is a core part of therapy. That’s because anything implemented during the sessions can often be applied in the home as well. Support from family is crucial for a child undergoing ABA therapy and navigating various aspects of life. This assistance not only benefits the child but also strengthens the family unit as a whole. Studies report that when parents of children with autism are involved in therapy, it “can improve their quality of life” as well, according to the NIH.

It’s okay to feel discouraged if you don’t see immediate results or if your child has an “off” day. They benefit from support and commitment, even when things are hard. With time, goals — and your child’s happiness — could grow exponentially.

Enhancing Generalization and Maintenance

Real-world skills are typically a top priority for ABA therapists. The skills developed in therapy sessions often apply to everyday situations. For example, a child who may struggle with social skills may benefit from ABA intervention to encourage them to interact with other children in an enjoyable, healthy manner, fostering relationships with others.

Children who struggle with maintaining proper hygiene are encouraged to practice brushing their teeth. But first, a clinician guides them and rewards positive responses for that behavior’s longevity. (Positive reinforcement is one of the core tenets of ABA therapy.) Notably, obtaining life skills has been shown to “reduce anxiety and boost self-esteem”.

Behavior Management

Some children with developmental disorders may present behaviors like tantrums, hitting, screaming, or self-injury. For children who struggle with negative behaviors, an ABA clinician can use positive reinforcement to encourage helpful actions and deter harmful ones. With time and training, challenging behaviors can be replaced by positive ones, enhancing the quality of life for the child, their loved ones and their community.

Academic Assistance

Not all children with developmental disabilities struggle with academics, but for those who do, an ABA clinician can help identify the gaps in their understanding. They can show your child skills to assist with reading, mathematics, and other subjects and provide strategies to support a love of learning. Clinicians can also connect with your student’s teacher to better understand their unique educational goals and streamline the process.

Ready To Start an ABA Journey?

ABA can be the start of a meaningful, growth-oriented journey with your child. With your Board Certified Behavior Analyst’s guidance and your unwavering support, your child can blossom.

Brad Zelinger is the founder and CEO of Stride Autism Centers.

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