ABA Therapy: The First Sessions of Therapy

hello and welcome to a BA made easy I’m Mauricio and today we’re going to cover pairing a ba has been shown time and time again to be a very effective tool to teaching children with autism since most of my experience has been based on giving behavior therapy to children ages 2 to 13 with autism my videos will mostly focus on that demographic but keep in mind that applied behavior analysis can be used in a variety of settings such as assisted living facilities or even managing businesses so before the therapy actually begins it’s important to do an assessment to see where the child lies the two assessment tools that I have used are the Able’s R and VB map and these basically tell you where your child stands on socially significant skills compared to other children in his or her age range one important part of the assessment is asking the parents what the child likes or which activities they like to do this is crucial for the success of the therapy these items and activities are known as reinforcers but I’ll talk more about reinforcers and reinforcement in a future video so you have a couple of goals during your first few sessions you want to sanitize that environment you want it gained instructional control be a pairing and you want to obtain baseline data to see where the child is so let me explain those in a little more detail so when I say sanitized their environment I don’t mean going by Windex and Clorox and start cleaning everything no no that’s I want to meet in a VA sanitize the environment just means get the stuff they like out of reach so they have to use language in order to obtain those objects so for example if you have their favorite stuffed animals and other stuffed animals are on a shelf that they can reach why would they ask you for it they’re just going to go and get it and so they have free access to these reinforcers and we don’t want that want to develop language we want them to communicate with you in order to obtain the reinforcers so what are you going to do you’re going to put them on higher shelves or lock them in some kind of cabinet that they can’t get to that’s what it means to sanitize the environment keep it out of reach so they have to come to you in order to get that reinforcer your next step is gaining instructional control so what is that so basically when you tell a child hey do this they might not do it you don’t have instructional control why are they gonna listen to you so how do you get this control well you use pairing so what is fair hearing is basically um you make it so that all the things they like get associated with you or some activities that they kind of like they’re going to like even more when you’re involved so for example they like a stuffed animal to stay with a stuffed animal you make really funny noises with a stuffed animal and like tickle them with a stuffed animal and make it jump and make it spin and throw it all around their head and whatever and then they’re gonna love that stuffed animal but they’re gonna love it even more because you’re in control so that’s what pairing is whenever I first walk into a session assuming that assessment is already done I go see the kid and immediately I go to him and I’m like high-five how you doing and then usually they give me a high-five and they get really excited and then I just pull out my iPads like you want to play with the iPad and then I let them play with the iPad and then I give them like some candy if they like candy and then I give them a toy or whatever whatever they like if they like reading books or if they like um figurines pull them out take them out or like if the if the parents know that they really like some snack give them that snack just basically you’re going in and they’re going to be like whoa this guy this guy is just a ton of fun so they’re going to be really excited to see you now sometimes the kids are not open to meeting strangers and they’ll cry and uh go somewhere else too like a person that’s known to be a safety and with them parent can take a little longer so you just want to make it you want to take slow steps with those and it could take a while with with them so you’re just gonna approach slowly get the stuff they really like and just like leave it there leave it like you know like three feet from you and see if they reach it and if they reach it congratulate them be like great job and as they then put it a little closer and closer and closer until I start reaching towards you to get the stuff that they really like and and that’s how you that’s how you pair now pairing can marry in timeframes from person to person so some kids it’ll take like three hours in other kids it’ll take two weeks or even more so it all depends on the kid just make yourself associated with the stuff they like and then they’ll start coming to you and then when you see that they’re readily approaching you or looking at you and the eyes are smiling and return it to you or if the parents say that they’re asking for you when you’re not in session you’ve successfully paired and good job if you’re a parent and you’re doing these therapies on your own ah like I said sanitize the environment first and then make the children have to ask for whatever they want and make all activities fun and carry yourself with those activities okay on to the next part so you want to obtain baseline data so what is baseline data base line data is basically all the data you’re obtaining before the treatment occur so you want to see where the child is before you even start a therapy it is important to see if the programs in place are actually helping with the behaviors that you’re looking for so let’s take maladaptive behavior for instance um let’s say you want you have a kid who hits himself right self-injurious behavior now it’s not enough just to say self-interest behavior because that can mean anything so what you want to do is you want to operationally define this behavior what does that mean it means you want to be as specific as possible with this behavior definition so for example instead of saying the child hits himself you could say the child uses a closed fist to hit the side of his head okay so you could take frequency data out of this so every day you measure how many times a child uses a closed fist to hit his head now you have to be very careful with how you define this behavior because what if the child does this with that cow and the answer is no because he used an open fist and we have to be consistent so if you want if you know that the kid hits himself like this and like this then define self-interest behavior as the child hits his the side of his head with a closed or open a closed fist or open hand okay if he does this with a count nope because he didn’t hit the side of his head so yeah you want to make sure you’re specific as possible and that you cover everything the bad behavior covers if that makes any sense a good way to see if you did a good job operationally defining your behavior is to use interobserver agreeance data and basically you and another person will measure in a day how many times they engage in that behavior without telling other the results as you’re marking it down and again of the day you see if you both agree and if it’s over eighty ninety percent then you have a good operational definition so you want to measure all these behaviors before even treatment occurs and that’s pretty much it so the first few sessions recap sanitized environment which means with the reinforcers away from the reach so they have to ask you for them um the second part is hair yourself so find everything that the kid likes to do and make yourself involved in those activities and the third step is obtain baseline data to see where they were before and where they were after now some people like to take a video to see the progress and that’s pretty cool so you might want to try that alright that’s it for this time thank you for watching and if you enjoyed this content please leave a like down below subscribe if you haven’t already and I’ll catch you in the next one


  1. thank you so much. it is a good start for me as I am planning to arrange ABA therapy for my son

  2. Hello I wanted to say thank you for your videos, because of your videos I was able to pass my 2nd interview and I was offered a job as a Behavior Technician… And I will be starting my training soon I'm very excited with this new opportunity and you played a big part of it with the information you shared. Thank you again!!!!

  3. Thank you for this video! I graduated last year with my BA in psychology, but had no job experience so instead I had to work at target. Fast forward to today, I aced my phone interview for a Behavior Technician, and hopefully will get called for the in person interview. This video honestly is starting to help me brush up on my old skills. Thank you!

  4. Thanks a lot!!
    Very informative video. I am sure this information will help lot of parents out there.
    You are a great person👍

  5. please do more videos.. you really helped boost my confidence with helping children with autism. many thanks 😀

  6. Please answer my question: I am a mother and suspecting that my child has autism. I live in a place where we don't have good services for autism or ABA. Are there any online ABA courses that you recommend me to take or easy books to read for parents? I want to help my son. Please tell me any recommendations.

  7. Thank you so much! You've taught me so much in under 10 min. I'm just getting started as a Behavioral technician. 😊❤️

  8. I’m struggling running the ABA therapy sessions. I just started working doing ABA therapy and the company is training me. I think that my accent is preventing me to run the sessions efficiently as the children may not understand the words I said. Is that possible or perhaps I’m overthinking?

  9. ABA is always coercion. They deny the existence of freedom. This comes from B. F. Skinner, their guru. Skinner edited journals that tried to skin shock torture gayness and autism away. Skinner was an atheist. He raised his second daughter as a “Baby in a Box.”

  10. how informative….I'm just overwhelmed..just crisp and clear..it's really goid to know you believe in sharing your knowledge…that's truely remarkable..

  11. Your videos are awesome ! I am a nurse and work for early intervention as a DI. YOur videos are GoLD.
    I completed my 4 th session with a little boy, from hiding in a little corner to playing an entire 30-40 minutes with me…..his mom says he waits for me, and can’t wait to see me.
    Love it

  12. Thank you, I'm a school based therapist new to the field and needed some help with some of my friends with autism. I'll be subscribing.

  13. I would like to apply for ABA certificate program. Please, provide me with your insight if there is a good market for a certified ABA. Also what commonly ABA are employed? Thank you.

  14. Autistics ( such as myself) do not endorse ABA, neurotypical people want ‘normal’ behavior, or what they think is normal.

    You do realize that applied behavior analysis is nothing more than glorified dog training?

    Replace the word dog every time he says child, and positive reinforcement.

    It is the same principle.

  15. You are wonderful so happy that i found you !! Thank you continue doing great videos so informative like this one .!! U are the best

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