August 2020 - Hidden Talents ABA

The Best Clothing Brands for Children With Autism

Many children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) experience heightened levels of sensory information that can create discomfort. Their experiences of hypersensitivity often include their sense of touch. You will often notice that children on the autism spectrum have difficulty finding comfortable clothes and struggle with issues like breaking in new shoes.


If you struggle with helping your autistic child find clothing that they will wear, you will want to consider what is creating the difficulty. Once you determine what is causing your child discomfort, there are several things you can do to help. You will find that there are some fairly easy ways to help your autistic child overcome issues related to clothing.

Ways to Help an Autistic Child Deal with Clothing Issues:

Helping your child live in comfort means, first and foremost, figuring out what your child is experiencing. Some children on the autism spectrum will experience


  •       Clothing as scratchy
  •       Clothing as stiff
  •       Issues with binding around arms and legs
  •       Sensitivity to elastic
  •       Irritation from seams
  •       Difficulty dealing with fasteners
  •       Clothing as too confining
  •       An aversion to a particular texture


You can help your child deal with these issues by finding clothing designed to:


  •       Be Soft: Many clothing manufacturers are using soft materials for children’s clothing. Brushed and combed cotton is generally a good choice of fabrics for your autistic child. Although many blended materials feel soft to the touch, you should also be aware that your child may struggle with feeling too warm in synthetic fabrics as they do not breathe as well as natural fabrics.
  •       Allow Ease of Movement: Pre-washed fabrics and athletic wear often work well for children on the autism spectrum. Many children on the autism spectrum will find denim stiff and frustrating due to binding waistlines and difficult closures. Choosing athletic wear rather than bluejeans is often an easy solution for daily school wear. If your child is interested in jeans, look for prewashed comfortably stretchy denim. You may want to look for jeans with elastic waists if your child struggles with snaps and zippers as well.
  •       Have Limited elastic: Autistic children often struggle with under garments due to the way thin elastic cuts into their limbs. Luckily, there are increasingly more options to traditional brief underwear. You will find many brands using wider elastic at openings to reduce the likelihood of discomfort at waist and leg openings. If your child is extremely sensitive to underwear, you may want to try elastic free and tag free underwear options.
  •       Have Less Irritating or No Seams: Autistic children also tend to struggle with socks and shoes. Toe seams in socks are often frustrating whether or not your child is on the autism spectrum. Kids on the autism spectrum are even more sensitive to socks and shoes than other kids. If you can avoid socks with large seams at the toes it will help a great deal. Looking for well fitting socks that are less likely to fall about your child’s foot and cause rubbing at wrinkles will be a big help in keeping your child happy.
  •       Have Less Irritating or No tags: Tags create frustration and irritation for many children. Kids on the autism spectrum often struggle more with the irritation of tags than other children. You will often find that removing a tag is insufficient, as the seams where tags are sown in are thick and can continue to create irritation.  Luckily more manufacturers are using soft fabrics for tags, creating tear away tags, or making tagless options.
  •       Wik Moisture: Kids with autism can be more sensitive to moisture and heaviness associated with clothing that have become wet due to sweating than other kids. To help your child remain comfortable in warm weather and when physically active, consider natural fabric like cotton and fabrics designed to wick away moisture.
  •       Provide deep pressure without restricting movement: Many children with sensory issues find the pressure of compression clothing reassuring and calming. Compression clothing works essentially the same way a weighted blanket does. Many children on the autism spectrum find gentle deep pressure in stretchable fabric comforting and reassuring.


Other ways to help your autistic child deal with clothing related issues include:      

  1. Allowing your child a choice when dressing for the day. Providing your child a choice between two shirts or pairs of socks helps them to feel in control and will help them to deal with the things that they can’t control.     
  2. Buying more than one of your child’s favorite piece of clothing. Since autistic children often struggle to find clothes they enjoy, it is a good idea to invest in more than one of your autistic child’s favorite piece of clothing.
  3. Allow for extra time. Children on the autism spectrum may need more time to dress. Adding extra time to your daily schedule to accommodate your child’s need for time to dress can make this daily challenge move more smoothly.

7 of the best clothing lines for autistic children:

Here are some of the best clothing companies that make products for autistic children.

Hanna Andersson:

Hanna Andersson makes simple, colorful clothes from 100% organic cotton. Their clothes are constructed of OEKO-TEX certified cloth that helps to protect your child’s sensitive skin. OEKO-TEX certification is given to clothing safe from harmful chemicals and dyes.


Hanna Andersson produces products for babies to kids up to 14 years old. Parents can also find matching pajamas (women’s Mommy and Me pajamas sell for $94). Long sleeve kids pajamas sell for $46.


Hanna Andersson clothing features extra smooth flatlock seams, encased elastic, zipper guards, and nickel-free snaps and zippers for added comfort. Print tees for boys can be found for $24. Hoodies for toddlers cost $42 with hoodies for kids selling for $54. Girls Soft Art Tees retail for $28, and Super Soft Skater dresses are priced at $48.

Alien Loud Music:

For discerning teens, Alien Loud Music shirts design ASD friendly t-shirts. These intentionally designed shirts feature high quality 100% combed ringspun cotton jersey with tear-away tags. Due to the high quality of the cotton used in constructing these unique t-shirts, they lie more lightly about the shoulders and provide long-lasting durability.


Some of the designs available from Alien Loud Music Shirts are limited edition and range in price from $32-38 each. However, the icon long-running shirts are listed for $25-30 each. You will find a variety of cool designs on these quality t-shirts. Most of their long-run designs are available in a wide range of colors allowing your teen to have a variety of high-quality comfort for daily life.

Smart Knit Kids:

Smart Knit Kids offers a variety of seamless products to help you and your child avoid those irritating seams that frustrate so many autistic children. 

You can buy your autistic child a set of three pairs of seamless underwear for between $26 and $32 on Amazon. You will find Boxer Briefs for your growing boys and Boy Cut Undies for your growing girls. 

You will also find bralettes for young girls and “compresso” tees for young boys. These specially designed undergarments offer the sensation of a gentle hug that many children on the autism spectrum find reassuring and anxiety-reducing. There is no elastic used in Smart Knit Kids products to bind or wear against sensitive skin.


Smart Knit Kids also offers seamless socks designed to help reduce your autistic child’s aversion to wearing shoes. Designed to be super soft and form-fitting, these moisture-wicking socks will reduce the likelihood of bunching and wrinkling that can lead to sensitive wear against your child’s feet.


Target has an adaptive clothing line for kids who struggle with sensory challenges and other special needs. This clothing line features no tags, flat seams, and cotton blends for softness and comfort. This site offers cost conscious choices for children who struggle with comfort but can tolerate flat seams.


You will find girls leggings priced $7.50 for two pair. Toddler t-shirts sell for $9.50 for two, and pajamas range in price from $12.99 to $14.99.


You will also find tagless options from Hanes for your autistic kids. If your child struggles with tags but can tolerate elastic and seams, Hanes brand is a much less expensive option for obtaining your autistic child’s undergarments. You will find Boys Tagless Briefs (7 pack for $9.99), boys crewneck t-shirts (6-pack for $13), Toddler Girl’s Cotton Hipsters (6-pack for $8).


Van’s offers a collection of sensory-friendly footwear and apparel. The items in Van’s Autism Awareness Collection feature calming colors and soft materials. Van’s Comfy Cush Old Skool Shoes are produced with soft outsoles and rubber tread for a winning combination of comfort and durability. Priced at $75, these shoes are designed with added arch support and moisture-wicking linings for added comfort.

Kozie Clothing:

Kozie Clothes provides a selection of compression clothes that can be worn as outerwear or under clothing to help your autistic child relax. These clothes are designed to provide deep pressure without binding. Compression clothing works the same way as a weighted blanket. Kozie’s compression clothing supports the release of serotonin and dopamine.


Neurotransmitters released due to the gentle pressure of compression clothes will help your child feel calm. In response to compression clothes, your child can be expected to experience a reduced heart rate and blood pressure. The gentle pressure of compression clothing can help your child feel safe as he/she moves through the day.


You will find short sleeve compression shirts for $38 to $46 each. Long sleeve compression shirts retail for $39. Unisex compression shorts will cost $35 and compression pants will cost $38. Kozie offers compression clothing for children from 12 months to size 16.

Smart Knit Kids:

Smart Knit Kids Compresso-T offers gentle compression. Easily worn under everyday clothes, this t-shirt is an exceptional layer that allows your child to feel a relaxing all day hug from a  soft tagless shirt. Designed of wicking fabric, this sleeveless t-shirt provides four way stretch and is available on Amazon for $14.99 to 22.96 each or $41.96 for a set of three.

How to Explain Autism to a Child

When your child is diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), you can expect to experience a variety of thoughts and feelings. Some parents deal with an initial shock when their child is diagnosed. 

However, receiving a diagnosis for your autistic child helps you to define the issues your child deals with and supports you in obtaining the help your child needs to best deal with their individual challenges.

Process the Diagnosis Yourself First

Once your child gets an autism diagnosis, you are going to find yourself dealing with a variety of new challenges. One of these new challenges will be helping your child’s siblings, friends, family, and classmates understand what autism is. 

However, before you throw yourself into supporting those around you and your child, first process the new diagnosis yourself.


Everyone will process their child’s diagnosis differently. Here are a few suggestions that can help you with the process.


  •       Educate yourself on autism. There are many websites that can be a great resource for learning about ASD such as the Center for Disease Control and ABA Therapy Resources. These sites will help you gain a fuller understanding of the disorder your child has been diagnosed with.
  •       Make sure your child has received the correct diagnosis. There is a good deal of overlap in diagnoses. If you feel that the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder fails to fit what you are seeing in your child, voice your concerns, and seek advice for a second opinion.
  •       Give yourself time. The diagnosis of ASD can be distressing for many parents. If you find yourself struggling with the awareness of your child’s diagnosis, give yourself the time you need to feel whatever you are feeling.
  •       Reach out for support and locate specialists to help you and your child. Every state provides early intervention services for children with ASD diagnoses. 

Depending upon what state you live in, you may be able to find services for your child before he/she reaches the age of three. Initiating the process of obtaining services for your child will help you feel that you are making progress even in the early days of your child’s diagnosis.

Explain the Basics of Autism

While this may sound like a straightforward task, you are going to want to be aware of the age of your audience when you share information regarding your child’s autism diagnosis. If you start engaging your child’s sibling(s), friends, and classmates in a discussion of autism early on, you can add to the conversation as your audience’s ability to understand grows.


Children under the age of seven may not be able to understand theoretical information. You can find talking points in the “Growing Up Together” brochure created by the Autism Society. You are going to want to be very concrete in the information you share. Children under the age of seven can understand that:


  •       Your child’s autism isn’t something they can catch
  •       Your child’s autism isn’t anyone’s fault
  •       Your autistic child, if he/she is prelingual, hasn’t learned to talk yet
  •       You will keep them safe


There are several books that can help you introduce young children to what autism is. For example, It’s Okay to be Different uses bright colors and silly scenes to explain differences.


Children over the age of seven are able to understand less concrete information. Children between the ages of eight and eleven can handle more complex explanations. Children in this age range can understand that:


  •       Your child was born with autism
  •       Your autistic child’s brain is different
  •       Your child’s autism creates problems with speaking, playing, and understanding other people’s feelings
  •       Your autistic child can learn
  •       Your autistic child may have to work very hard to learn
  •       When your autistic child behaves aggressively it is the parent or teacher’s job to deal with it, not theirs
  •       That you are willing to answer questions, if they have any
  •       That they can help your autistic child by engaging them in play and/or showing them how to do things


You can find talking points for your teen on the Autism Society’s “Growing Up Together” brochure for teens.


You can find a list of the thirty best children’s books about autism here. If you find talking about autism difficult, there are a wide range of books that can help you start this conversation. 

You may also find that providing books for your autistic child’s sibling can help them understand how they can engage with an autistic sibling.


Autism In My Family is an appropriate book for children aged 8-12 who have a sibling diagnosed with autism. This book is an interactive workbook that can help your child understand autism. 

It will encourage your child to help their autistic sibling develop their own identity and emotions. This book can be supportive in helping you maintain a strong family and is a good supplement for siblings working with professionals to understand their place in the family.

Share Information Specific to Your Child

Once you have begun the conversation on autism, you will want to engage his/her siblings and friends by sharing information that is specific to your child. If your child experiences hypersensitivity to sounds, lights, or textures this is something that your child’s siblings and friends may need to know.


Understanding your child’s particular challenges will help those around him/her understand how your child is feeling and predict his/her reactions to situations. 

For example, knowing that your child is hypersensitive to sound will help siblings and friends understand why your child is allowed to wear headphones when they aren’t.


Remember, Autism exists on a spectrum. Some children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder will struggle with verbal communication, others won’t. Some children on the spectrum will struggle profoundly with social interaction, others may show little impairment in their ability to connect with others socially. Help those around your child understand where he/she lies on the spectrum.

Share Suggested Ways to Interact With Your Child:

Help your autistic child’s siblings, school mates, and friends engage with your child by providing suggestions on ways to interact with your child.


  •       Teach the children around your child how to catch your autistic child’s attention before asking them a question
  •       Encourage others to always recognize and respond to your autistic child’s attempts to communicate. When others respond to your child’s attempts to communicate, these responses act as positive reinforcement for the behavior. This will lead to your child’s increasing attempts to communicate. Nothing kills the attempt to communicate as quickly as having these attempts be ignored. 
  •       Held those around your child understand that offering an autistic child a choice in activities will improve the likelihood that they will engage in play.
  •       Help others engage with your autistic child by teaching them to summarize other’s statements, check for understanding, and asking questions.
  •       Engage the children around your autistic child in games that your child enjoys. Play, particularly creative play supports the use of verbal communication. If you engage your autistic child and his/her sibling(s) in play, you will help them to develop a stronger bond while encouraging your autistic child to use their communication skills.


Read books about autism and autistic characters

Engaging your children by reading books about autism will help both your child that lives on the autism spectrum and their siblings. Reading books about autism helps to normalize the diagnosis. 

You may know that 1 in every 54 US children is diagnosed with ASD, but that doesn’t mean much to a child. Meeting characters with autism in a book provides your autistic child with the understanding that they aren’t alone. Reading books about autism also helps your other children understand that, though their sibling is unique, they aren’t lesser.


You will find books related to autism that can help every member of your family. My Brother Charlie is a good book for children with a sibling on the autism spectrum. It is written from the point of view of a child with a younger brother with autism. This book allows an older sister to discuss her brother Charlie’s challenges and strengths in a kind and honest way.


All My Stripes allows children on the autism spectrum to travel and learn alongside an autistic zebra named Zane.


1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders offers strategies for those raising and educating children with ASD. This book has helpful suggestions for engaging your autistic child in sensory-motor activities using simple materials you can find in your home. You will also find tips for improving communication and behaviors.


Explain your child’s strengths

Help your autistic child’s sibling understand that your child has strengths. We often view those on the autism spectrum disorder according to their limitations. 

Clearly, you are going to help your children understand the limits that your autistic child may have, but don’t forget to explain their strengths as well. Help your child and their siblings, classmates, and friends to appreciate your child’s specific strengths.


Many children on the autism spectrum have a strong appreciation and understanding of particular topics. If your child loves trains, help those around him/her understand that this is a particular interest your child holds. 

If your autistic child exhibits mathematical skills, help those around him/her see this strength. Play up the strengths of your autistic child just as you would the strengths of your other children. 

Honest questions are not rude

Help both your autistic child and their siblings, friends, and classmates understand that honest questions aren’t rude. Establish an openness regarding your autistic child’s diagnosis. 

This will encourage those around your child to express their curiosity and become more comfortable both with your child’s diagnosis and with your child him/herself.


Warm and open communication will help others develop an understanding of what you and your family are dealing with. 

This attitude may also help those around your child develop empathy. If you approach questions in a challenging manner, you may well miss the opportunity to enlighten someone who could be helpful in your child’s life.


Some questions may be misguided, but if someone is expressing curiosity, they are generally trying to understand. Helping those around your child develop a deeper understanding of their challenges and abilities will ultimately help your child feel welcome and secure in their world.

What do you do when an autistic child hits you?

Most people tend to act out when hurt. You may have experienced this yourself, or you may see it, if and when, your autistic child acts aggressively toward others. Perhaps the best way to deal with your autistic child’s aggressive behavior is to establish expectations in those around them and to help reduce your child’s aggressive behavior.


Autistic children may tend to act out when frustrated. For many children, this behavior creates a reaction that is reinforcing. If your autistic child acts aggressively and obtains attention for this behavior, you may unintentionally reinforce this behavior. Clearly, this is the last thing you want to do.


It is best to remain calm when your autistic child behaves aggressively. Interrupt the aggressive behavior, and redirect your child’s energy. If you are working with an ABA therapist, they will help you with techniques and strategies for dealing with aggressive behavior. 


Pay attention to what creates aggressive behavior in your ASD child. If you notice that your autistic child tends to hit to get attention when playing with siblings and friends, you can help reduce hitting by helping the other children understand to pay attention to your autistic child’s attempts to communicate. 

If you notice that your autistic child tends to hit others when they become frustrated, you can help to reduce this behavior by checking in on the child to access their frustration level.

Pay Attention to Sibling Stress

Many children with siblings on the autism spectrum cope very well with their sibling’s diagnosis. However, children with siblings on the autism spectrum may experience stress that children in other families don’t have to deal with.


Issues that may cause stress for siblings include:

  •       Feeling embarrassed around peers. There are several points in a young person’s life when they want to be “normal” and to fit in more than anything else. Your child’s sibling may feel embarrassed if they feel their sibling makes them stick out as different.
  •       Jealousy over the amount of time and attention their autistic sibling receives. Parenting an autistic child requires a great deal of time and attention. Siblings can’t help but notice the amount of time and energy you spend engaging in supporting, educating, transporting, and attending educational and professional appointments. 

It is possible for siblings to feel slighted if you spend all of your time and energy dealing with an autistic child.

  •       Frustration at not being able to engage their autistic sibling. Children on the autism spectrum often struggle to engage socially with others. If your child’s sibling doesn’t understand this, they may take their sibling’s lack of interest in them personally. 

This is one reason it is helpful to make sure your autistic child’s sibling(s) understand how autism impacts a person.

  •       Anger over their sibling’s aggressive behavior. Children may not understand why you deal with their sibling’s aggressive behavior in a mild fashion. Your autistic child’s sibling(s) may be more apt to feel this frustration if there is frequent aggressive behavior and/or if you deal with acts of aggression from your autistic child differently than you do when they act aggressively. 

It may be helpful to talk about these things as a family with some frequency.

  •       Concern about the stress felt by parents and other family members. If your autistic child’s sibling(s) are aware of your stress, they may feel protective of you. This is one reason that it is helpful for you to make sure you are dealing with your stress levels in a healthy manner. 

Maintaining self-care and seeking professional help when you need to can help you deal with your stress levels. Dealing with your stress levels can keep your stress from spreading to your children.

  •       Concern that they may have to act as a sibling’s caregiver later in life. This is another time that it is important to maintain open communication with your children. Establishing and communicating appropriate expectations for your autistic child’s care can prevent these types of concerns.


Books like What About Me? A Book By and For An Autism Sibling can help young children understand the day-to-day struggles and joys of having a sibling on the autism spectrum. 

13 Common ABA Therapy Techniques

If your child has been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), you have probably heard about Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy. ABA therapy is simply a method of therapy that is used to improve or change specific behaviors. 

This therapeutic approach is often used to help children improve their social skills, communication patterns, fine motor skills, grooming, and academic skills. ABA has also been used to help individuals improve their job proficiency and learn simple skills, like maintaining a clean and organized room.

History of  ABA Therapy

For those of you who took Introduction to Psychology at some point in your past, ABA therapy is based on the work of psychologist B.F. Skinner. Skinner developed a theory of operant conditioning. Skinner’s theory looks at how one can control behavior by altering the consequences of that behavior. Parents generally use the same principles when they punish a child for doing something wrong and reward them for doing something well.


To help you better understand ABA therapy, we will look at some of the techniques that an ABA therapist is likely to use with your child. 

ABA Therapy Techniques

Below is a list of some of the common techniques used by ABA therapists. It is important to remember that the strategy and techniques used by an ABA therapist will be tailored specifically for your child. 

So without further ado, here are some ABA therapy techniques:

Positive Reinforcement:

In the most general of terms, positive reinforcement is providing someone with a reward or praise to encourage them to continue to behave in the way you would like them to. The praise or reward needs to quickly follow the desired behavior. If a reward or praise quickly follows a behavior, the person will associate the positive reinforcement with the behavior. This makes the person more likely to increase the rewarded behavior.


Your child’s ABA therapist will work with your child to identify an appropriate positive reinforcement. The therapist will provide positive reinforcement as soon as your child performs the behavior he/she is trying to get your child to do. The behavior can be something as simple as looking into the eyes of the person they are talking to. The positive reinforcement can be something as simple as a word of encouragement.


Say your child’s ABA therapist is working to get your child to ask for toys rather than grabbing for them or simply taking them from a sibling or peer. When your child asks for the toy he or she wants, the ABA therapist will quickly provide the child with the toy. This will motivate your child to ask for the toys he/she wants.

Discrete Trial Training:

Discrete Trial Training (DTT) is one of the major teaching strategies used in ABA Therapy. DTT is a technique where skills are broken down into small, “discrete” (or distinct) elements. The therapist then introduces each element of the skill to your child, one at a time. Your child will receive positive reinforcement after each correct response to the discrete element being taught.


If an ABA therapist is engaged in teaching your child emotions, for example, he/she may break the concept of emotions into the individual emotions. Each emotion will be broken down into specific lessons. First, your child may be taught to distinguish the emotions.


For example, the ABA therapist may begin by having your child identify emotions. He/she may begin by introducing happiness. Your child may be given an array of photographs in which children portray a variety of emotions. Your child may be asked to point out the picture of the child expressing happiness. When your child correctly points out the image of the child expressing happiness, he/she will be positively reinforced with the praise or reward that was identified previously.


Once your child has learned to positively identify happiness, the therapist will move on to another emotion. Once your child has learned all of the emotions that he/she is being taught, the therapist will move on to teaching your child another step in the process.


This step may be something as simple as learning to say each of the emotions when shown a photograph depicting a child expressing that emotion. Again the therapist will introduce each emotion, one at a time. 

Antecedent-based Interventions:

To understand Antecedent Based Interventions (ADI), it is helpful to understand how ABA Theory looks at learning. ABA Theory looks at learning as a three-stage process (Antecedent Behavior Consequence). According to this ABC process, an antecedent (A) occurs that triggers a behavior (B). The behavior (B) then leads to a consequence (C).


For example, your child may become hungry. Hunger is the Antecedent that leads your child to eat an apple (B). Eating an apple (B) has the consequence (C) of reducing your child’s hunger. In this example, the consequence (C) should be a positive outcome and should lead your child to be more likely to eat an apple when he/she feels hungry.


However, if your child chose a snack that makes him/her feel unwell, the C would be negative and less likely to reoccur. Say your child is allergic to strawberries. If you child feels hungry (A), and chooses to eat strawberries (B), he/she will have an allergic reaction (C).


This means that your child feels unwell. This would be considered a negative reinforcement, meaning that your child would be less likely to eat strawberries (B) in the future when hungry (A).


One of the things that create issues with learning is that there can be many things occurring within an environment that interfere with, or replace, the intended Antecedent. For example, if your child is on the autism spectrum, he/she may be highly influenced by sound. 

In a regular learning environment, your child may have to deal with sounds that other children don’t appear bothered by. A conversation taking place across the room may impact your child’s’ ability to focus on what the teacher is presenting (the intended Antecedent).


ABI Strategies focus on modifying the environment to reduce the likelihood that something in the environment could trigger an interfering behavior. For this reason, your ABA Therapist may engage your child in an environment that has few distractions. Teaching your child in this type of environment, helps your child to focus on the intended antecedent.


Aspects of ABI Therapy include:

  •       Modifying learning environments
  •       Providing choices
  •       Engaging your child with motivating items.


One example of an ABI intervention is offering a child, who tends to behave defiantly, a choice. Rather than asking your child to complete a worksheet, your ABA Therapist may present your child with three worksheets and allow your child to choose one. This intervention will likely result in your child happily completing the chosen worksheet rather than defiantly saying no.


You may be surprised to learn that your child’s ABA Therapist may engage your child in exercise as part of his/her therapy session. Exercise not only improves one’s physical health, it has been proven to have many other benefits.


Exercise can:

  •       Increase your child’s feelings of happiness
  •       Create a sense of calm that helps your child focus
  •       Reduce sensations of pain
  •       Improve your child’s ability to sleep
  •       Encourage your child to use social and verbal skills
  •       Improve your child’s memory
  •       Help your child improve gross motor skills by working his/her major muscle groups
  •       Help your child improve fine motor skills needed for things like holding a pencil, by working his/her small muscle groups.


You may, for example, notice that your child’s ABA therapist engages him/her in a game of ball or a series of stretching exercises at the beginning of a therapy session or during a break between more traditional learning activities.


Extinction in ABA is simply a procedure used to help reduce problem behaviors. Different strategies are developed to reduce problem behaviors based on the way the particular behaviors are being maintained.

Some problem behaviors are maintained because they are being positively reinforced. Your child may obtain positive reinforcement in the form of attention when he/she becomes overly loud, for example.


Some problem behaviors are maintained because they are being reinforced by the removal of a negative. Your child may find that when they are openly defiant to doing work, they are withdrawn from the learning environment.

 For example if a child is removed from the classroom and placed in a quiet space to reflect after being defiant about completing homework. he/she may find that the removal of the offending work if reinforcing although the situation is intended as punishment.


Some problem behaviors are maintained because they are automatically reinforced by the behavior itself. For example, some children get great joy out of rolling the windows in a moving car up and down.

 Although this may seem to be a simple act of defiance, the change in the physical sensation of wind rushing across their face may be engaging for the child and therefore automatically reinforcing the unwanted behavior.


Regardless of why the negative behavior occurs, your child’s ABA therapist may use extinction to reduce it. To extinguish the problem behavior, it must become paired with a lack of reinforcement. A behavior that historically resulted in the removal of negative stimulus, must no longer have the same outcome. Ultimately, over a period of time, a child learns that the behavior fails to get them whatever was maintaining it.

Functional Behavior Assessment:

A Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) is the process your child’s ABA Therapist uses to identify the behaviors that need to be altered to help your child learn. This process helps your child’s ABA therapist identify specific behaviors, determine the purpose of these behaviors, and figure out the factors that are maintaining these behaviors. Your child’s FBA will become the basis for the interventions your child’s ABA Therapist uses to help your child learn and grow.


To develop your child’s FBA, your child’s ABA Therapist will spend time observing your child. Your child’s ABA Therapist may also speak to parents, teachers, and medical providers to get a better understanding of your child.

Functional Communication Training:

Functional Communication Training (FCT) uses differential reinforcement (DR) to teach a child to replace one behavior with another. Generally, a child is taught to replace a problematic behavior with an appropriate phrase or some other way of communicating. FCT interventions progress through a set of stages.


An FCT intervention is developed and taught by:

  •       Conducting an assessment of the problem behavior
  •       Determining appropriate communication
  •       Teaching the child the new communication skill
  •       Reinforcing every use of the appropriate communication
  •       Reminding your child to use the new communication
  •       Ignoring the problem behavior whenever it happens


For example, your child may be throwing his/her pencil whenever frustration builds. Your child’s ABA Therapist may work with him/her to replace the pencil throwing with the phrase, “I’m getting frustrated.”


Children who are non-verbal may be taught to replace the pencil throwing with using a gesture from sign language or a picture to express themselves.


Modeling is, simply put, when one person intentionally shows another person what an ideal behavior looks like. In ABA therapy, your child’s therapist may use modeling to help your child understand the behavior that he/she is looking for.


For example, if your child’s ABA therapist is helping your child learn to hold a pencil correctly, they may spend time showing the child how they position their fingers and the pencil to prepare for writing. They may then draw attention to how they move their fingers to make a mark.


Modeling is simply applying learning through watching.

Parent-implemented Intervention:

Some ABA programs have used Parent-implemented Intervention (PII) with great success. PII involves ABA practitioners training and collaborating with a child’s parents to provide ABA interventions. Studies indicate that this practice can be a highly effective way of teaching and supporting children on the autism spectrum.


With the growth in the numbers of children being identified as struggling with autism spectrum disorders, there is often a lag between identifying a child who could benefit from ABA Therapy and getting this type of support.


Studies show that Parent-implemented Intervention is beneficial for children on the autism spectrum. PII allows parents to engage their children in their natural settings. This allows the child to learn without the anxiety of traveling to a clinic. It also allows children to learn without the delays that can occur in finding appropriate professional care.


You may for example work with your ABA therapist to learn how to support the use of ABA strategies to help your child while you are waiting to get into seeing an ABA therapist. Or, in times like this, when we are all practicing social distancing, you may work with an ABA therapist to provide support to your child when face-to-face therapy isn’t a reasonable option.

Picture Exchange Communication System:

A Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a modified ABB program that allows people without the ability to speak to use images to communicate. Studies have shown that suing PECS can improve your child’s language skills. A PECS can also help your child communicate needs and help reduce behaviors associated with the frustration of being misunderstood or unable to communicate.


For example, if you child is unable to ask for specific foods, he/she may be provided with a PECS of a variety of foods to pick from at snack time.

Pivotal Response Training:

Pivotal Response Training (PRT) is a variation of ABA therapy. This method is based on the idea that there are pivotal behaviors that influence other behaviors. Therapists using PRT focus on these pivotal areas instead of looking at specific behaviors. PRT often occurs through gameplay.


As your child progresses through PRT improvement in the pivotal area focus upon, you should see this behavior generalized to other areas of communication, social engagement, learning, etc. For example, if your child is learning to ask for toys during play sessions, he/she will be positively reinforced for asking for the toys available for play. You can expect that your child will begin to ask for other things that he/she desires in other settings as well.



Redirection is a technique used by many therapists, educators, and caregivers. An ABA therapist using this technique quill distract a child from a problem behavior that is happening. The child’s attention is drawn toward more appropriate behavior.


Suppose for example that your child hits another child to get their attention. Upon seeing this behavior, your child’s ABA therapist may either say something or tap your child on the shoulder. This breaks into the behavior that is occurring. The therapist may then direct your child to repeat a phrase like, “excuse me”. This allows your child to then to practice the appropriate behavior.


Scripting means repeating the same words over and over again. ABA therapists may use scripting to help your child learn a new skill. The therapist will create a description of a skill or situation. The therapist will practice the script with your child before the skill is used. A script may be as simple as, “ook the person you are talking to in the eye.”


Scripts may be useful when your child is anticipating social situations. Once the steps of a new skill have been practiced and learned, the ABA therapist will work with your child to fade the script.