Reach For The Stars with this pediatric therapy and autism services blog.

Autism, Early Intervention and Applied Behavior Analysis

is 3 years old and has a vocabulary of three words. His parents say that he doesn’t seem to pay attention to other people. He attends preschool three days a week and his teachers say he is well behaved. However, he rarely plays with others and prefers flipping the pages of his favorite book. He was evaluated by a psychologist who diagnosed him with autism. She recommended early intervention using applied behavior analysis, what she called an ABA home program.

It is difficult to receive news of a diagnosis of autism and fully understanding the professional recommendations can be overwhelming. This blog will provide a brief overview of autism, early intervention, applied behavior analysis (ABA) along with supplying additional resources for families. 

Autism, a developmental disorder, includes symptoms in three areas: difficulty with social interactions, delays in language and communication development, and restricted or repetitive behaviors. Symptoms are seen before the age of 3 and can differ across children.

Early intervention is known to have many benefits, but for children with autism, early intervention is a must. Research studies indicate that early intervention employing ABA can result in large developmental gains.

ABA is a methodology for understanding behavior, that is, how motivation can be used to increase a desired behavior and how circumstances can be arranged to decrease unwanted behaviors. The effectiveness of ABA for teaching children with autism is supported by years of research.

For Bryan, the following are some examples of specific skills to teach: expanding his vocabulary to include a variety of words to request desired items; initiating and responding to social interactions; and increasing his play skills. These specific behaviors can be taught through ABA teaching strategies, which involve breaking down each skill into specific steps and using reinforcement (Bryan’s favorite activities) to increase particular behaviors. 

Early intervention services using ABA involves individualized instruction in the natural setting including, at home, preschool/daycare, or in the community. An ABA program must begin with a comprehensive assessment of the child’s current abilities and results in an individualized curriculum that teaches skills in the categories of communication, social/play skills, independence, appropriate behavior and pre academic skills. Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA), who are trained in applied behavior analysis and autism are the appropriate professionals to develop, provide, and supervise ABA programs.

By Tamara Marder, Ph.D., BCBA-D

For more information on Achieve Beyond's physical therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and
Applied Behavior Analysis Services please feel free to visit

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Monday, 25 January 2021

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