What Do ABA Therapists Do? Where Do They Work?

ABA therapists are trained professionals who work with individuals to help them develop new skills and behaviors, and to reduce problematic behaviors.

reuben kesherim
Published By Ruben Kesherim
June 22, 2023

What Do ABA Therapists Do? Where Do They Work?

What is ABA Therapy?

ABA therapy is a type of therapy that is based on the principles of behaviorism. It involves breaking down complex behaviors into smaller, more manageable parts, and then teaching those parts in a systematic way. ABA therapy is highly individualized, and the therapist will work closely with the individual to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to their specific needs.

What Do ABA Therapists Do?

ABA therapists work with individuals to help them develop new skills and behaviors, and to reduce problematic behaviors.

What Do ABA Therapists Do?

They use a variety of techniques to achieve these goals, including:

1. Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a technique that involves rewarding an individual for exhibiting a desired behavior. ABA therapists use positive reinforcement to encourage individuals to develop new skills and behaviors. For example, if a child with ASD is learning to communicate verbally, the therapist may reward them with a small toy or treat when they successfully use a new word or phrase.

2. Prompting

Prompting is a technique that involves providing cues or hints to help an individual learn a new skill or behavior. ABA therapists use prompting to help individuals learn new skills in a step-by-step manner. For example, if a child with ASD is learning to tie their shoes, the therapist may start by providing verbal cues, and then gradually fade those cues until the child is able to tie their shoes independently.

3. Shaping

Shaping is a technique that involves gradually building a new behavior by reinforcing successive approximations of that behavior. ABA therapists use shaping to help individuals learn complex behaviors. For example, if a child with ASD is learning to ride a bike, the therapist may start by rewarding them for sitting on the bike, then for pedaling, and then for balancing.

4. Chaining

Chaining is a technique that involves breaking down a complex behavior into smaller, more manageable parts, and then teaching those parts in a step-by-step manner. ABA therapists use chaining to help individuals learn complex behaviors, such as getting dressed or brushing their teeth. For example, if a child with ASD is learning to get dressed, the therapist may start by teaching them to put on their socks, then their shoes, then their pants, and so on, until they are able to get dressed independently.

What Types of Disorders Do ABA Therapists Treat?

ABA therapy is primarily used to treat individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other developmental disabilities. However, it can also be used to treat a wide range of other disorders, including:

  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

ABA therapists may work in a variety of settings, including schools, clinics, hospitals, and in clients' homes. They collaborate closely with families and other healthcare professionals to develop personalized treatment plans that address individual needs and goals.

Where Do ABA Therapists Work?

ABA therapists may work in a variety of settings, including schools, clinics, hospitals, and in clients' homes. The most appropriate setting for ABA therapy depends on the individual's needs and goals, as well as the severity of their disorder.

In school settings, ABA therapists may work with students who have ASD or other developmental disabilities to help them develop social skills, academic skills, and behavior management strategies. They may collaborate with teachers and other educational professionals to ensure that the student's treatment plan is integrated into their overall educational plan.

In clinical settings, ABA therapists may work with individuals who have more severe or complex needs. They may provide intensive one-on-one therapy sessions or group therapy sessions to address specific issues related to communication, behavior management, or social skills.

In hospital settings, ABA therapists may work with individuals who have experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or other neurological disorder. They may collaborate with medical professionals to develop an interdisciplinary treatment plan that addresses the individual's physical and mental health needs.

Finally, in-home therapy can be beneficial for individuals who require ongoing support in their daily lives. ABA therapists can work with families to develop a treatment plan that addresses specific areas of need within the home environment. This can include strategies for managing problematic behaviors or developing new skills related to self-care or independent living.

Conclusion

ABA therapy is a highly effective treatment for individuals with ASD or other developmental disabilities. ABA therapists use a variety of techniques to help individuals develop new skills and behaviors, and to reduce problematic behaviors. By using positive reinforcement, prompting, shaping, and chaining, ABA therapists are able to help individuals achieve their full potential and lead more fulfilling lives.