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Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

If your child has been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), one evidence based therapeutic intervention is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA therapy is designed to help children on the spectrum develop social and emotional skills by understanding the purpose  of a behavior as well as encourage positive actions. 

ABA therapy helps children on the autism spectrum by:

  • Increasing social skills like communication and learning new tasks
  • Supporting behaviors like self-control and self-regulation
  • Teaching how to transfer learned behaviors to new environments
  • Modifying an environment to promote learning
  • Reducing negative behaviors like self-harm

A qualified and trained behavior analyst (BCBA) designs and directly oversees an ABA program. The BCBA will start by doing a detailed assessment of a child’s skills and preferences. They will use this to write specific treatment goals. Family goals and preferences are also included. Many schools in Alaska have BCBAs on staff or can partner with one through the Special Education Service Agency. Parents  and caregivers can also receive training to support learning and skill practice throughout a child’s day. 

In Alaska, ABA therapy is covered by private insurance, TriCare, and Medicaid. Alaska has a robust BCBA training, supervision, and professional support  network and there are more than 70 licensed BCBAs in the state. Information about ABA can be provided by a primary care provider or through a support agency like the Alaska Autism Resource Center or  Stone Soup Group.