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What Is ABA Therapy?

clinician and child playing a game demonstrating what is aba therapy

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a common intervention for children diagnosed with autism. ABA is evidence-based and has proven extremely effective when applied to therapeutic models, which can vary among practitioners. Not every ABA-based therapy will work with every person, so it is important to find clinicians who will create an individualized ABA therapy plan based on your child’s needs, strengths, and gaps.

To learn about ABA therapy for your child and Opya’s approach, reach out to us by calling (650) 931-6300 or completing our online form. We are here to answer your questions about early intervention ABA therapy for young children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

What Is ABA Therapy?

The goal of any therapy for children living with autism is to improve their lives meaningfully—not according to an external set of expectations but as defined by their individual goals, well-being, and personal needs and requirements.

Science—specifically the scientific understanding of learning and behavior—is the foundation of applied behavior analysis therapy. ABA therapy is used to support children and adults diagnosed with ASD and focuses on two core goals: stopping dangerous behaviors and teaching important and necessary life skills. Such skills include, but are not limited to:

  • Social skills
  • Self-care
  • Hygiene
  • Communication and language development
  • Play
  • Motor skills

In most cases, your child will not receive just one form of therapy; however, ABA therapy is often the core pillar of a treatment plan.

How Does ABA Therapy Work?

ABA is multi-faceted and flexible. It can address the specific needs of an individual and can also take place in a group setting or one-on-one. It is primarily based on two important concepts: positive reinforcement and antecedent/behavior/consequence.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement encourages lasting behavioral changes based on the concept that a desired behavior will be repeated if it is rewarded. This process involves identifying target behaviors ahead of time and subsequently providing rewards for those behaviors that have meaning to the child. Rewards can be praise, story time, outdoor time, or access to a favorite toy, among others.


The “antecedent” is what happens prior to the behavior, and the “consequence” is what happens as a result afterward. The ABCs of this concept help clinicians guide children towards targeted behavior goals and understand the connections between and among choices and actions.

ABA Therapy for Children Diagnosed with Autism

At Opya, we focus on providing ABA therapy to newly diagnosed children from 18 months old up to six years old because of the clinically proven efficacy of early intervention.

ABA therapy works for children in several ways, including:

  • Helps with self-control and self-regulation
  • Enables them to take learned skills and behaviors into any situation or environment
  • Improves their social and communication skills
  • Reduces self-harm and other negative behaviors that impede their functioning, social adjustment, and well-being
  • Helps children adapt to situations they don’t understand or that they find off-putting, opening a wider world to them
  • Teaches the difference between behaviors that are socially acceptable and those that are not, which increases interpersonal effectiveness

Young children have not yet had the chance to have their behaviors and views of the world locked in. They are excellent candidates for this gentle kind of behavioral therapy that supports and encourages while guiding them to behaviors that will enhance their quality of life, enable their comfort in the world, and give them the ability to forge relationships.

Learn More About ABA Therapy at Opya

ABA therapy is an opportunity for your child diagnosed with autism to expand horizons, feel secure, and begin a lifetime of learning.

Opya clinicians provide ABA therapy in the safety and comfort of your home. A close parent-therapist relationship ensures your child’s best outcomes. Learn more by reaching out to Opya today. Complete this online form or call us at (650) 931-6300 today.