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Applied Behavior Analysis with Autism Spectrum Disorder Patients


ABA and ASD: Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism Spectrum Disorder

ABA and ASD are popular search topics today. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) stands as a leading therapeutic option for individuals on the autism spectrum. With the exponential growth in autism diagnoses, now affecting 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys, the need for effective treatments is paramount. ASD, a neurological disorder, manifests as qualitative impairments in social interaction, communication, and restricted patterns of behavior. Frustration intolerance and communication difficulties often result in self-directed or aggressive behaviors. Furthermore, individuals with autism commonly experience high levels of anxiety during everyday activities, including medical visits.
By incorporating the fundamentals of ABA into medical care, the overall experience for both the medical team and families can greatly improve. ABA is a research-based and U.S. Surgeon General-endorsed scientific approach that comprehends behavior and its relationship with the environment. It proves effective for all individuals, whether in one-on-one or group settings. Key aspects of ABA involve establishing positive associations, employing assistive communication methods, consistent use of reinforcement strategies, and modifying the environment to benefit individuals with autism.


One essential technique is ‘Pairing,’ which establishes the medical professional or environment as a positive reinforcer by associating it with established reinforcers. Engaging in enjoyable interactions, ideally with exclusive items/activities, prior to examinations fosters compliance and a more pleasant experience.


Consistent reinforcement is crucial for individuals with autism. ABA emphasizes positive reinforcement, reserving punishment as a last resort. Sticker charts, token systems, and contracts are effective reinforcement strategies. Knowing when they can access preferred toys or activities reduces anxiety and rigidity. Understanding and implementing their familiar reinforcement systems during examinations or tests can greatly enhance the comfort of everyone involved.
tokenboards ABA and ASD

Modifying the Environment

Sometimes there are specific things that trigger anxiety or unexpected behaviors in individuals with autism. Knowing these triggers in advance will allow you to modify the environment prior to your patient’s appointment. Some common triggers are loud noises and extreme temperatures.

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Parent Waitlist Program


November 02, 2023 | 12pm-1pm PDT

Journey to Independence

Community-based program designed to support families on waitlist

Being an RBT for me was extremely fun because where were you going to find a place where you can be completely silly without having to worry what people thought about you? This was the only job that made me feel like I could make a dramatic difference while being myself.

I also liked to be surrounded by people that had the same goals of wanting to help kids and the teamwork made the job much easier and more enjoyable.

Change and progress was the ultimate goal for our kiddos. The early intervention program was seriously only a miracle because I saw changes in the kiddos that from day one, you wouldn’t even recognize who they were.

Changes from being able to utter 3-4 words where they can only make a syllable from when they started, the behavior decreases in which kiddo that used to engage in 30-40 0 self-harm to only half, learning how to wait during games, table work where they use to swipe and drop to the floor if they had to.

My favorite was when the parents would tell us what amazing progress they were making at home. I used to tear up and felt for these parents so much because it was already difficult for them and now, they can trust and rely on ABA and the therapists knowing their goal was ours.

By Emma Rogers, BA, RBT

Mother Child
Special Learning’s Free Hotline

This is an independent SL Hotline that is part of our VCAT service. This hotline has no connection with any other association or membership group.

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