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The ABA Umbrella: Different Types of Behavior Therapy Treatment

In the “What is ABA Anyway?” post, I mentioned that ABA is a broad term…an umbrella, if you will. ABA is comprised of many different treatments, and I would like to introduce you to three that are frequently utilized:

Discrete Trial Training (DTT)

DTT is very structured and involves a lot of repetition. It is an intensive 1:1 treatment, typically sitting face-to-face at a table. This is what many people think of when they hear “ABA,” but it’s only one component. In DTT, specific tasks or behaviors are broken down into simple steps, and built up one step at a time.

For example, if your child is learning to identify shapes, her therapist would teach each shape individually. The therapist may begin by teaching your child to identify a circle. The therapist will perform a “trial” by presenting three flashcards and asking your child to point to the circle. The therapist then immediately reinforces the correct response (i.e., “Look at you finding the circle!” or a high-five) or corrects the response. The therapist will then immediately repeat the “trial” multiple times (my generally rule of thumb is 5-10 trials!). This may continue over several sessions until your child can consistently identify the circle. The therapist will then move on to teaching a square by itself and reinforce. As you child’s repertoire of shapes builds, the therapist will incorporate all shapes.

Sometimes it takes a lot of repetition for things to “stick.” DTT can be used to teach a variety of skills, such as, labeling objects, washing hands, eye contact, sorting, etc.

**Check out the video for an example of using DTT to work on identifying colors**

Incidental Teaching (IT)/Natural Environment Training (NET)

IT/NET uses the surroundings of the child and naturally occurring opportunities in order to teach new skills. It’s also a good way to make sure that skills learned in treatment translate—or, generalize—to the natural environment. IT/NET plays into the interests of the child, so typically, this treatment is usually motivating. Before starting IT/NET, a goal should be put into place and the therapist should have an idea of what your child enjoys.

For example, your child is learning to identify shapes and colors, as well as following simple directions. He really enjoys cars. The therapist brings him into the playroom and gives your child a car to play with. While your child is playing, the therapist may say, “What color is the car?” “What shape are the windows?” “Hey, bud, push the car.” The therapist will positively reinforce correct responses. Three skills were practiced using your child’s favorite toy!

Another way IT/NET can be used is to foster communication. Let’s say your child is working on requesting. If your child walks into a playroom and spots a car on the shelf that he really likes, he will have to request it in order to play with it. Sometimes the therapist may have to contrive a situation. For example, she may put your child’s favorite cookie in a see-through baggie, just out of reach so that your child has to ask for it.

Verbal Behavior (VB)

VB is a structured, 1:1 therapy like DTT; however, it is language-based. The child will learn to make the connection between a word and its meaning. One way VB is used is to teach a child how to functionally use their words, by not only learning to label objects, but to also learn what they do. For example, the therapist shows your child a toothbrush. Ideally, this is how we would like the scenario to play out: Therapist: “What is this?” Child: “A toothbrush.” T: “What do you use a toothbrush for?” C: “Brushing teeth.” T: “What do you brush your teeth with?” C: “A toothbrush.”

Hmm… “How can I use these with my child?”

Good question! Incidental Teaching/Natural Environment Training (IT/NET) is the easiest one to use to practice skills because it’s laidback, motivating and is also easy to incorporate into everyday play. Keep an eye out for our next post which will give you some tips on how to use IT/NET at home!
Melissa Laco, BCBA, COBA

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Patient Reviews

Crystal Scheibe

Great place, glad we found them. Been going to Medina over 2 months now and he loves Lauryn and Kyler. Wish they had more ABA therapy places available... live in Wooster and long drive everyday.

Karrie Swan LaRock

My 11 year old son has dyslexia and has made noticeable gains in working At LLA THERAPY. Katie is strong in her approach toward him and also keeps him comfortable enough to perform well. We will continue visiting both the Fairlawn and Hudson offices and recommend them highly.

Ron Monroe

My 9 year old just completed about 9 months of weekly speech sessions (due to his stuttering) with Matt Hagge at LLA and we are thrilled with the experience and results. What I thought might be a negative (what kid really wants to go to speech class?) was made very positive by Matt, and my son never hesitated or complained when we talked about class. He really enjoyed it and really took what Matt taught him to heart. His speech has been greatly improved and we definitely recommend LLA. Thank you so much!

Heather Dougherty-Pantoja

My son’s Occupational Therapist, Jess, is an amazing OT! She gives practical tips on working with my son at home and school!

Terri Apgar

I cannot say enough good things about LLA Therapy. My daughter was a client of Teal Simmons’ for approximately 2 years and was just released from speech therapy! She was diagnosed with Apraxia in 2015 and worked with Teal twice a week. Through Teal’s application of PROMPT therapy, my daughter had age-appropriate speech after one year. All of the staff we interacted with at LLA were absolutely wonderful. They really care about what they do and making sure your child achieves their goals.

Kelli Geisler Davisson

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for my son as well as my family! My son always asks, "When can I go see Ms. Jeannine again, is it Monday??" He has also made huge gains in only 5 months! I would highly recommend LLA and have already shared my experience with friends looking for services!

Victoria Hansford-Price

We are so grateful for our Speech Therapist Ms.Teal. We have seen a great improvement with our sons confidence and communication abilities since we have started "Prompt" therapy. What we love the most about LLA and Ms. Teal is that Kohl feels comfortable and relaxed which has played a critical role in his progress. Thank you Ms. Teal for all you have done.

Laura Lee Hogsett

They have helped in numerous ways. Speech, OT and behavioral. I've had numerous compliments on my son's progress thanks in very large part to LLA. I would recommend LLA before I recommend our local children's hospitals, though they are good, they don't have the staff that LLA does.

Amy Furukawa

We had a great experience with Matt Hagge at LLA! Our Middle School age son was becoming very conscious of his voice, which is nasal due to a cleft palate. Matt helped him to better form his sounds and project his voice in a way that makes the unavoidable nasality less noticeable.Our son is more confident and outgoing & even took on a speaking role in the church play. Matt has the perfect personality to relate with our son, and we would recommend him to anyone needing speech therapy services!

Jessica Havalotti

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for our daughter. I would highly recommend LLA. Miss Grace was so amazing and I can't believe how quickly our daughter showed improvement. Thank you!
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