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What Can I Expect from an ABA Counseling Session?


Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a type of therapy used to help those diagnosed with autism and related conditions, but many people question what will happen during a typical ABA counseling session. The only people who can lead those sessions are those who have ABA experience. Trained ABA counselors often offer training sessions that allow college students and others to work with children and adults in quiet settings that involve just the two of them. These sessions typically involve many of the same things each time, which helps the person seeking counseling follow a set routine.

Individualized Instruction

An ABA therapy session will almost always involve just two people: the person giving the counseling and the person receiving the counseling. Individualized instruction helps that individual form a relationship with the counselor. He or she begins feeling more comfortable working with that person and may even look forward to sessions. Having just two people in the room can also help the child focus on the task at hand or the lesson used during that session. When the child’s parents or siblings attempt to participate, it can make the child feel uncomfortable because he or she cannot open up to the counselor.

Quiet Space

Some of the sessions used today take place in public place like a park or a restaurant. The idea is that those sessions teach kids how to act and react in social settings and when there are other people around. Most therapy sessions take place in a quieter space though like a bedroom or living room. This gives the counselor a door that he or she can close to block off any loud noises in the home. Those diagnosed with autism often have an easier time working and focusing when there is less stimulation around.

Behavior Rewards

Using rewards for good behavior is an important part of one of these sessions too. Offering a reward for good behavior or for doing something correctly helps the child link that action to the reward, which makes the child realize that the therapist will offer rewards for doing the same thing in the future. The rewards often vary based on the skills of the child. Some will benefit from a session ending a few minutes early, but others benefit from more tangible rewards. A therapist may offer the child a sticker, let the child play a computer game or offer a small treat at the end of the session.

Ongoing Assessment

According to Autism Speaks, which is one of the largest autism organizations in the world today, an ABA counseling session will also involve some type of ongoing assessment. This is especially important among those who work with different therapists or people each week. Each therapist can see whether the child retained the knowledge and behavior learned from a past session when working with another therapist. ABA therapists will also come in for regular check ups every few months or more often to ensure that the current routine works.

ABA therapy helps children diagnosed with autism relate better to others and learn how to do simple tasks like tie their shoes or get dressed in the morning. These sessions can help older people diagnosed with the condition too. Parents and people with autism can find out what happens during a typical session before an ABA counseling session.

Related resource:

Top 15 Best Online Applied Behavior Analysis Programs