All About ABA Therapy

All About ABA Therapy

By Sarah Johnson. 

When deciding on treatment methods for your child with an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, it’s important you discuss all options with a doctor. Since no child with autism is the same, the choice of treatment will also vary based on the needs of the child. That being said, learning about all the options available is extremely important.


ABA therapy is one of the most commonly known therapy options for children with Autism. Applied behavior analysis, also called behavioral engineering, is a scientific technique that applies approaches based upon the principles of the respondent and operant conditioning to change the behavior of social significance.


ABA therapy is typically started around 18 to 30 months old but can be started later in the child’s life also. The start of ABA therapy may seem young, however, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children 18 to 24 months old should receive screening for autism by their pediatrician.


ABA is considered an evidence-based best practice treatment by the US Surgeon General and by the American Psychological Association. Evidence-based means that ABA has been scientifically tested on its usefulness, quality, and effectiveness.


The effectiveness of ABA has been shown to be substantial. Based on a study, growing evidence indicates that some children receiving early intensive behavioral and developmental

interventions (numerous hours weekly over multiple years) show substantial improvements in cognitive and language skills over time compared with children receiving low-intensity interventions, community controls, and eclectic non-ABA-based intervention approaches 1.


To learn more about treatment and intervention services for children with autism visit the CDC website.


1 Weitlauf AS, McPheeters ML, Peters B, et al. Therapies for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Behavioral Interventions Update [Internet]. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2014 Aug. (Comparative Effectiveness Review, No. 137.) Discussion. Available from:

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