Saturday Workshop Review: Understanding Applied Behavior Analysis

Saturday Workshop Review: Understanding Applied Behavior Analysis

On Saturday, Kristen Vaughn, InKids Program Director gave an introductory workshop to parents and teachers on Understanding Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy as well as how to evaluate an ABA program.

Kristen covered the major principles and parts of ABA including the characteristics of ABA therapy, the ABCs of behavior, functions of behavior, reinforcement and punishment, and skill acquisition. A major part of any ABA program should be data collection! ABA therapists use data to make decisions versus subjective opinions. Another major component in good ABA programs is creating treatment goals that are socially significant and meaningful to the individual and their family.

Kristen covered the different types of services (clinic-based, in-home, school-based, Focused Intervention services and consults. Participants learned about the different levels of therapist certification including the difference between a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT), Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). It is very important that if your child is receiving ABA therapy, that those services are supervised by a BCBA!

raffle-winner-9-24One of the most valuable parts of the presentation was when Kristen discussed what to look for when evaluating an ABA program for your child. Some of the things Kristen told parents to look for are transparency, safety, staff training, case load, treatment planning, data collection, opportunities for inclusion, transition planning, parent involvement and communication with other service providers. Kristen provided participants with a list of questions to ask service providers when shopping around for ABA programs.

We also raffled off the book Understanding Applied Behavior Analysis: An Introduction for Parents, Teachers and Other Professionals by Albert Kearney. If you weren’t able to attend and would like information about ABA, Autism Speaks has an excellent packet that you can download for free here:

If you are interested in receiving an email regarding future, free workshop events, email

Written by Nichole O’Donnell, B.A., BCaBA, Community Outreach Director, Including Kids, Inc.