Information Archives - Hidden Talents ABA

Autism Resources in Atlanta

Many families become overwhelmed when a loved one is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, knowing where to begin looking for help can be a relief. 

Many autism resources in Atlanta, GA, are available to help parents and children with ASD gain the tools necessary for success. 

Resource List for Children with Autism in Atlanta

Atlanta has many organizations aimed at helping those with developmental disabilities gain the help they need. 

Local charities, foundations, and support groups help families navigate the challenges of autism and discover aid and resources that may go overlooked.

Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities

The mission of the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) is to work for societal and policy changes and promote opportunities for diverse people with developmental disabilities and their families to thrive in their communities. 

The GCDD educates leaders, legislators, and the general public about how to include those with developmental disabilities in community life. In addition, it connects families seeking support and resources with the right programs for their needs. 

Easterseals of North Georgia

Easterseals of North Georgia supports those with autism and their families. By providing education, advocacy, and outreach services to those affected by ASD, Easterseals helps engage families with their communities and sets everyone up for success.

This nonprofit offers everything from child development screening to vocational services to relief opportunities for overwhelmed caregivers. Easterseals prides itself on its on-the-ground support for those with developmental disabilities.

Parent to Parent of Georgia

Parent to Parent of Georgia is widely recognized as one of the best resources for families seeking help and support. 

This organization offers a wide range of resources to support those with ASD from birth until age 26. By matching families with peer support and beneficial services, Parent to Parent helps those navigating new challenges. 

Families seeking information on resources, training, special events, and more can use Parent to Parent’s extensive database to identify the help they need and find information on how to access those resources.

Marcus Autism Center

The Marcus Autism Center is among the largest autism centers in the U.S. It provides families affected by ASD with access to research, comprehensive testing, and breakthrough treatments.

The center serves as an essential resource for those with autism. It also actively works to share research and train educators and care providers to help those with autism live better lives.

Social Skills Today

Social Skills Today provides respite opportunities for caregivers of those with ASD and other developmental disabilities. The organization offers summer camps, mini-break camps during the school year, social skills groups, and overnight camps. 

Its work meets two critical needs: providing social and behavioral skills training activities in a safe and nurturing environment and giving caregivers a well-deserved break. 

Best Buddies

Best Buddies of Georgia is a nonprofit organization committed to forging friendships, integrated employment opportunities, leadership development, and inclusive living situations for those with developmental disabilities. 

It focuses on ending physical, social, and economic isolation for those with ASD and other conditions and empowering people with disabilities to form meaningful relationships and positive roles in their communities. 

Threshold Community Program

Threshold Community Program works with teens and adults with ASD who struggle to live active, purposeful lives and form meaningful connections with others and their communities. 

Through family and transition services, education, and wellness, Threshold Community Program encourages independence and growth.

Pure Hearts of Georgia

Pure Hearts of Georgia is a nonprofit organization supporting children and adults with intellectual disabilities and their families.

Pure Hearts offers yoga and fitness classes, dance and music therapy, adaptive sports, arts and crafts, and other activities to those who may have difficulty in traditional programs. 

It also offers education and training sessions to parents and families about critical, relevant topics, hosts family meet-ups, and holds sensory-friendly events.

Spectrum Autism Support Group

Spectrum Autism Support Group supports the Atlanta autism community through events, programs, and resources. 

Families affected by ASD can take advantage of monthly support groups, respite programs, and family camps. At the same time, those with autism can benefit from day and overnight camps and social skills groups.

ABA Therapy in Atlanta

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy serves as the gold standard for supporting the developmental needs of those diagnosed with ASD. The ABA process works to understand, predict, and change behavior through the science of learning. 

This therapy effectively reinforces positive behaviors and reduces harmful behaviors. However, while ABA is a highly regarded approach, not all ABA programs are the same. 

High-quality ABA therapy is individualized to meet each child’s needs. When employed with care and respect, ABA therapy can increase communication and language skills, improve memory and social skills, and cultivate more extended periods of focus. 

Hidden Talents provides comprehensive at-home ABA therapy in Atlanta for your child regardless of where they are in their development and works with them as they develop the skills they need for success.

Autism Walks in Atlanta with Hidden Talents ABA

Autism walks bring the community together. They promote autism research and awareness and draw increased support for those affected by autism spectrum disorders. 

These events seek volunteers and participants who can bring attention and understanding to autism spectrum disorder. If you’re looking to help the autism community, Atlanta autism walks are a great place to start.

How Do Autism Walks Help the Community?

Autism walks and runs support nonprofit organizations that address the unmet needs of those affected by autism. 

Many of those with autism spectrum disorder require counseling and support to find safe adult housing, employment, school services, health care, and educational training and assistance. 

In addition, autism fundraisers promote research, representation among decision-makers, and funding for special education needs. Autism support agencies work to create a consistent, strong voice for those with autism and their families.

Along with fostering large-scale changes, many autism groups use the money raised through walks and races to provide financial assistance to families unable to afford specialized therapies and other critical programs. 

The Main Autism Walks in Atlanta, GA

Both large and small nonprofit organizations that support those on the autism spectrum use community-building walks and runs to champion local and national autism resources and assistance. 

Atlanta autism events are often held in the spring or fall. Participants of all ages and abilities have the chance to come together. 

Atlanta Autism Speaks Walk

Participating in the Atlanta, Georgia, Autism Speaks Walk is free. However, it still serves as the organization’s largest fundraising event of the year. 

Through participants’ and sponsors’ efforts and donations, the walk funds research, support, and services for those affected by autism spectrum disorder. 

In addition to the financial donations raised through the Autism Speaks Atlanta Walk, the event gathers those with autism and their families, friends, and care providers to grow the community and form new connections. 

The Autism Speaks Atlanta walk is an October event, and the celebration begins at 8 a.m. for day-of registration. The walk’s opening ceremonies start at 9 a.m., with the walk immediately following at around 9:15. 

Strollers, wheelchairs, and wagons are all welcome on the mile-long course on Battery Avenue. Those interested in volunteering or participating can follow the event online to learn about upcoming dates.

Pure Hearts of Georgia Autism Awareness 5K Fun Run

Pure Hearts of Georgia is an Atlanta-based nonprofit created by families affected by autism. The organization’s 5K fun run is an April event hosted at Newtown Park in Johns Creek. 

Completely volunteer-organized, the event welcomes all ages and abilities. The Pure Hearts team guides runners around the track for the three laps that make up a full 5K and supplies them with snacks and drinks for their post-run recovery.

Participants can enjoy upbeat music and a welcoming, enthusiastic atmosphere throughout the event. 

Pure Hearts of Georgia emphasizes neurodiversity and inclusivity, working to ensure that those in the community who are on the autism spectrum have the resources and opportunities they need to succeed. Follow Pure Hearts of Georgia through its website and social media to keep an eye on future events.

Autism Speaks 5K

In addition to the Autism Speaks Atlanta walk, Autism Speaks also offers an annual Georgia 5K held in November to support their work further. 

The Autism Speaks Georgia 5K is a chip-timed event held in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park. The race helps fund the organization’s work to promote research and solutions for those affected by autism and to help those in urgent need of immediate assistance. 

Autism Speaks is the nation’s largest autism advocacy and research organization. Its work impacts the greater autism community and individuals unable to identify and afford the best tools to foster long-term success. 

The Autism Speaks Georgia 5K begins at 7:30 a.m. with packet pickup and same-day race registration. 

The race itself starts at 9 a.m. Participants can also complete a virtual race anywhere in the country. 

For questions, you can contact the race’s coordinator, Erin Turner, at (770) 451-0570 or follow the event online for updates.

Georgia Race for Autism

The Georgia Race for Autism is an annual event held in October alongside the Fall Festival at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds. As a USATF-certified race and a qualifying 5K for the Peachtree Road Race, the event attracts those affected by autism, the local community, and serious competitors. 

However, you don’t need to be a runner to enjoy the Georgia Race for Autism. The event also includes a one-mile fun run, a 100-yard dash, and a Tot Trot. 

Full of food, vendors, and resources, the Georgia Race for Autism supports the SPECTRUM Autism Support Group, which provides clubs and camps for those on the autism spectrum. 

Discover the Tools and Resources to Help Your Child Thrive

Hidden Talents is a premier provider of ABA therapy in Atlanta. Our goal is to help children on the autism spectrum gain the skills they need to fully realize their potential. 

Specializing in improving communication, social, and adaptive skills, our dedicated therapists come to you so that your child can remain in the comfort of their home as they obtain the skills necessary to thrive. 

Give your child the tools to succeed when you reach out to our team today.

Autism Walks in Houston with Hidden Talents ABA

Autism walks have become one of the best ways to raise funds for and awareness of autism disorders. Anyone can participate in these walks, and they offer families the chance to meet others while doing something beneficial for the autism community. 

If you would like to participate in an autism walk in Houston, Texas, there are some great options to consider. 

What Are Walks for Autism?

Walks for autism are fundraising events that promote awareness of the disorders on the autism spectrum while also raising money. These funds serve to improve services for the autistic community and make it easier for family members and caretakers to get the help and resources they need. 

Funds also go toward research and new technology that can make the lives of those with autism easier. 

The Main Walks in Houston, Texas

Houston offers a few different autism walks to consider. 

Autism Speaks Houston Walks

Autism Speaks is one of the most respected groups in the country, and the various chapters of the organization host autism walks throughout the year. The Houston walk is a large event that takes place in October every year. 

It begins at Lynn Eusan Park at the University of Houston, and registration opens at 8 a.m. Aside from the walk, there are activities for people of all ages, including face painting, balloon artists, and sensory-friendly activities. 

It also features quiet spaces for people with autism who may need a break during the day. In addition, you can choose to have a walkthrough of the location before the event with an Autism Speaks guide. 

You can be part of a team, start a team yourself, or walk alone. Email to learn more. 

Easter Seals Walk with Me

Walk With Me is a 5K family walk that raises funds for Easter Seals Greater Houston, an organization that provides services for people of all ages with a disability. This year, the walk will take place at the Houston Zoo.

Easter Seals offers therapy, training, education, and so much more. It is one of the most efficient and oldest charities in Texas. 

The next walk will be on April 22, 2023. For more information, call 713.838.9050 ext. 304 or email

3. Run for Autism

This 5K run or walk in MacGregor Park offers prizes and encourages people of all ages to participate, with a kids’ run as part of the festivities. Run for Autism promotes awareness of autism. It began after the tragic death of Alex Jamrich, who was autistic. 

The race raises money for research and services in the local area, with many funds going to Autism Speaks, Avondale House, and Westview School. 

The 2022 race will be live, but it will also have a virtual alternative. It begins on November 5, and the virtual event goes up to November 11. 

It’s a race or walk appropriate for all levels of athletes. There will also be a handcycle and wheelchair division. 

You can learn more about the event by writing to

Final Thoughts

We hope you found this list of Houston autism walks useful. If you are looking for the best ABA therapists in Houston, give us a call. Our team is ready to help and will treat your child like family.

Autism Support Groups in Houston

Autism support groups can help parents and caretakers of children with autistic children find guidance and feel less alone. Support groups are invaluable resources for families with autistic loved ones.

Read on to learn why support groups are essential and what are the best ones in Houston. 

What Are Autism Support Groups?

Autism support groups consist of family members, teachers, doctors, and others who have contact with children on the autism spectrum. 

These groups offer guidance by allowing people to share experiences and techniques for dealing with problem behaviors while also making it easier to find expert help through seminars and guest speakers.

The Importance of Having an Autism Support Group

Autism support groups are appropriate for many groups of people who work or live with children on the autism spectrum. These can include:

  • Grandparents
  • Social workers
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Teachers
  • Doctors

These support groups provide safe spaces for members to share the frustrations they may feel without worrying about judgment from others. 

An autism support group can help you feel less alone as you navigate how to help a child with autism. 

Many autism support groups offer resources that can help you, in addition to hosting therapists and other specialists that you can learn from. 

The 5 Best Autism Support Groups in Houston, Texas

If you’re considering joining an autism support group, there are some excellent ones in Houston, Texas. 

1. Heart of Texas Autism Network

The Heart of Texas Autism Network helps parents learn how to advocate for their children in the public school system. They have potluck dinners where experts and therapists offer training and other advice and information. 

The event is a good way to network and find access to resources. The Heart of Texas Autism Network has collaborated with many organizations to provide assistance for events, conferences, and more. 

Call 254-863-1131 or email for more information.

2. Blue Skyes Over Autism

Blue Skyes Over Autism is a support group that provides education opportunities and respite events for family members who have an autistic loved one. These events help promote awareness and seek to create lasting bonds among families. 

The group focuses on the Houston, Texas, area, but it also reaches out to families in other countries with autistic loved ones.

You can contact them via their online form

3. Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks is one of the largest resources available for families of people with autism. It offers information and events that raise money for families who are struggling. 

Autism Speaks sponsors support groups in all of its chapters, with options like sibling support groups and online support groups, to name a few. Autism Speaks also has an autism response team that works like an information line for the autism community. 

Learn more by calling 1-888-288-4762 or by writing to

4. Autism Society of Texas

The Autism Society of Texas is the country’s leading grassroots autism support organization. It provides public awareness while also offering information on the latest treatments. 

The Autism Society of Texas sponsors local and national support groups, as well as online groups, so you always have someone to talk to. The Houston Parent and Caregiver Online Support Group, for example, meets virtually on the third Thursday of every month. 

Call 1-888-288-4762 or email for more information.

5. Houston Autism Family Support Group

The Houston Autism Family Support Group is a family-led group that organizes multiple activities every month to encourage participation from the entire family. The support group networks with other organizations in the area to offer training for parents and caregivers while also including the loved one with autism in the conversation. 

Email the group at

Final Thoughts

We hope you found this autism support group list useful. If you are looking for the best ABA therapists in Houston, give us a call. Our team is ready to help and will treat your child like family.

Autism Resources in Columbus

For those living with autism or who have a loved one on the autism spectrum, having resources available is vital. Autism resources offer support, grants, and information, making them important for families as well as individuals. 

Keep reading to learn about the numerous autism resources available in Columbus, Georgia. 

Resource List for Children with Autism in Columbus, Georgia

In the Columbus, Georgia, area, there are many autism resources, including grants, scholarships, and more. 

1. Parent to Parent of Georgia

Parent to Parent of Georgia offers multiple services for families impacted by autism. The organization has various support groups, including those for Hispanic families, parents, and East African families. It also offers online groups. 

Parent to Parent of Georgia also provides training for parents and other caretakers on learning strategies for dealing with challenging behavioral issues. The organization has offices throughout Georgia. 

You can reach out by calling 770-451-5484 or by filling out a form here

2. Georgia’s Special Needs Scholarship

The Georgia Department of Education offers this scholarship for K-12 children. It provides funds for private school education when public school does not offer the assistance a child with special needs requires. 

To qualify for the scholarship, the child must have attended at least one year of public school in Georgia or have attended a special needs preschool. The student must also have either a 504 Plan or an Individualized Education Plan. 

3. West Georgia Autism Foundation 

The West Georgia Autism Foundation offers grants for families who have a child on the autism spectrum. Its mission is to enrich the lives of those affected by autism. 

Past grants have included scholarships for young adults with autism to attend technical college, as well as research grants. Families in need can also apply to receive support. 

In January 2023, the West Georgia Autism Foundation will host one of its large fundraising events to help families in Georgia. 

Learn more by contacting

4. ASD Ascend Scholarship

The ASD Ascend scholarship offers tuition money for young adults on the autism spectrum who want to attend college. The foundation awards five $1,000 scholarships. 

The ASD Ascend scholarship is open to entering freshmen, sophomores, and juniors who have autism and want to get an associate degree or bachelor’s degree. 

Winners must provide documentation of an autism diagnosis. 

You can contact the ASD Ascend foundation through this form

5. Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks is one of the leading resources for parents, caretakers, and anyone else who loves someone on the autism spectrum. Autism Speaks provides valuable information on autism, access to specialists who can help parents, support groups, and more.

It also offers grants for families of autistic children, scientists focused on autism research, and autism service providers. Each year, Autism Speaks hosts various walks to help raise money for local services. 

Contact an autism response team at 888-288-4762 or by emailing If you speak Spanish, call 888-772-9050.

6. Marcus Autism Center

Marcus Autism Center has many resources to help a child with autism. It can help families with everything from arranging animal therapy sessions to applying for benefits. 

The center offers specialized services and programs to help improve the lives of children with autism and their families. It has a library dedicated to helping families find the resources they need for every developmental stage of their child’s life. 

Call Marcus Autism Center at 404-785-9400.

7. Children’s Autism Assessment Center

Children’s Autism Assessment Center offers some of the best assessment and diagnostic services in the area. It provides gold-standard neurodevelopmental diagnoses for disorders on the autism spectrum while also offering tailored services and recommendations. 

Children’s Autism Assessment Center also offers consultation services for families who would benefit from support in the management of their child’s developmental concerns, like picky eating, late toilet training, sleep difficulties, and challenging behavior. 

You can call 404-390-1322 or email for more information. 

8. Georgia Kids First Special Needs Fund

This scholarship is a general one that provides help for children K-12 who are autistic or have other challenges. The scholarship allows people to redirect their Georgia State income taxes to those in need, providing them with specialized services and educational support. 

To apply for the scholarship or to learn more, call 404-808-6936 or write to

ABA Therapy in Columbus, Georgia

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the gold standard for autism, based on the process of learning and behavior. It uses positive reinforcement, and it is easy to adapt it to meet each child’s needs. 

It is a type of therapy that can help decrease problem behavior while improving attention, focus, academics, and social skills. It can also help improve communication skills. 

At Hidden Talents, you can get a therapist who specializes in ABA therapy to come right to your home. To learn more about our in-home ABA therapy in Columbus you can call 404-487-6005 or email

Autism Walks in Columbus

Autism walks have become one of the best ways to raise awareness for this condition, encouraging people to raise funds for research and for local services geared toward people on the autism spectrum. 

In Columbus, Georgia, there are two main walks that happen every year. Learn more about them here. 

What Are Walks for Autism?

Autism walks help raise awareness about the challenges people who are on the autism spectrum face. They can be excellent fundraising events and bring people together over this common cause.

By raising funds, walks for autism seek to improve local autism services, research, and more. Everyone is welcome to participate. 

Because the people who host these walks understand the challenges of those with autism, they provide safe and quiet areas where participants can take a break. 

The Main Walks in Columbus, Georgia

There are two major autism walks in Columbus, Georgia. The walks take place every year, and both happen in October. 

Autism Speaks Walk

The Autism Speaks Walk is the largest autism fundraising event in the world. It’s a walk dedicated to offering support to those affected by autism. 

Money raised by the walk goes to fuel research projects, critical services and programs in the area, and advocacy. When you register for the walk, you can set your fundraising goal and make personal donations. 

Because people with autism can experience sensory overload, the walk provides quiet spaces if it all becomes too much. There are also pre-walk guides that can help someone with autism get acquainted with the route so they know what to expect. 

Children are welcome to participate. Although there’s no registration fee, there is a minimum donation of $150 that participants must raise. 

In Atlanta, the walk begins at The Battery Atlanta, 800 Battery Ave., SE Atlanta, GA 30339. Learn more by writing to

Georgia Race for Autism

The Georgia Race for Autism includes a 5K, 1-mile run or walk, along with a tot trot and a 100-yard dash. The funds the race raises go to the SPECTRUM Autism Support Group, helping to provide camps and other special events for those on the autism spectrum. 

SPECTRUM sponsors seven weeks of summer camps, as well as programs throughout the school year. These programs and events help children on the autism spectrum to develop social skills and build friendships. 

The race takes place at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in October. The 5K begins at 8 a.m., and registration begins at 6:30 a.m. 

After the race, participants can enjoy the Fall Festival, featuring vendors from all over the city and family-oriented activities. Activities include:

  • Petting zoo
  • Face painting
  • Hamster balls
  • Corn hole games
  • Inflatable slides and obstacle course

There will also be a clown to entertain the children, food vendors, and a silent auction, in addition to other treats. The silent auction is another way to raise funds for autism research, advocacy, and special programs. 

To learn more about the Georgia Race for Autism, email

Final Thoughts

We hope you found this autism support group list useful. If you are looking for the best ABA therapists in Columbus, give us a call. Our team is ready to help and will treat your child like family.

Autism Support Groups in Columbus

Having a child with autism can make you feel isolated and like no one else knows what you’re going through. To help with these feelings, there are autism support groups that offer hope and remind you that you’re not alone. Read on to learn more about autism support groups in Columbus, Georgia. 

What Are Autism Support Groups?

An autism support group is a group of parents, grandparents, family members, caretakers, and even educators who have someone in their life with autism. These groups help members by offering them support and guidance as they deal with the daily struggles of caring for a person on the autism spectrum.

The Importance of Having an Autism Support Group

Autism support groups are appropriate for a variety of people who have someone with autism in their lives, including:

  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Teachers
  • Doctors
  • Caretakers
  • Grandparents

Support groups for people who have a loved one on the autism spectrum allow members to share insights into dealing with difficult situations. The sense of community these support groups provide can make it easier for members to vent any frustrations they have in a safe, judgment-free space. 

Autism support groups also allow people to get expert advice. Many of the groups host events with professionals, making it easier to get information on autism. 

These support groups also introduce you to people who are going through similar situations, reinforcing the fact that you aren’t alone on your journey. 

The 5 Best Autism Support Groups in Columbus, Georgia

If you live in Columbus, Georgia, there are a few excellent autism support groups you can turn to. 

1. Autism Hope Center

The Autism Hope Center is a nonprofit organization serving the Chattahoochee Valley area. Its goal is to provide programs and information for everyone affected by autism. 

The funds the group raises stay in the area and provide Family Support Grants so that parents can receive specialized training, community seminars, and more. 

Learn more about the Autism Hope Center by calling 706-604-6333 ​or emailing ​

2. Parent to Parent

Parent to Parent serves the Stonecrest, Georgia, area and focuses on letting parents help one another through difficult transitional periods in their children’s lives. All parents with special needs children are welcome to attend. 

The group meets every Wednesday. Call 404 585-7533 or email

3. Marcus Autism Center

The Marcus Autism Center offers support to children with autism and their parents and caretakers. The center has a Care Coordination team to help families get the support and training they need. 

The center is based in Atlanta and offers seminars and camps throughout the year to give families the information they need while also helping children improve their social skills. 

To learn more about the Marcus Autism Center, you call 404-785-9400 or visit them at Marcus Autism Center, 1920 Briarcliff Road, Atlanta, GA 30329.

4. Georgia Autism Center

Georgia Autism Center helps families and people on the autism spectrum receive the right diagnosis, gain information on dealing with the challenges that autism brings, and much more. 

The center bridges the gap between families and experts by furnishing families with information on the latest technology and therapy options for a child with autism. 

Learn more by contacting the center at 770-696-4384 or emailing

5. Muscogee County Autism Support Group (MCASG)

MCASG provides parents and caretakers with training information on dealing with complex situations and transitional periods of their child’s life. The group meets on the second Tuesday of each month. Contact MCASG at 706-329-7708.

MCASG serves the entire Columbus, Georgia, area. 

Final Thoughts

We hope you found this autism support group list useful. If you are looking for the best ABA therapists in Columbus, give us a call. Our team is ready to help and will treat your child like family.

What It’s Like to Be an ABA Therapist

You may be wondering what it’s like to be an ABA therapist.

After you read this article, you will know what a practitioner’s average day looks like, the job’s main pros and cons, how you, yourself, can become a successful ABA therapist, and more.

What is ABA therapy?

ABA therapy stands for applied behavior analysis. It is a therapeutic approach that helps autistic children and adults with controlling their behaviors and autism symptoms.

The ABCs of ABA

One of the basic concepts of ABA therapy is the ABC (antecedent, behavior, and consequence). Practicing professionals rely on the ABC to understand why an autistic patient is behaving a certain way.

First of all, ABA therapists identify the emotional, verbal, visual, physical, or other type of antecedent that led to the behavior. For example, the antecedent may be a word that upset the child, a bad thought that they had, or a loud noise that came from the TV.

The behavior is how the kid reacted, such as by crying, screaming, pulling their hair, or throwing objects.

Finally, ABA therapists determine the consequence that followed and its influence on the behavior. 

To illustrate, here is an example:

  1. Antecedent: An autistic child’s parents turned on the TV.
  2. Behavior: The child started to cry and pull their hair because they felt that the TV volume was too loud.
  3. Consequence: To stop the child’s behavior, the parents turn off the TV or (if they didn’t know why their kid was crying) give them some ice cream.

In this example, the consequence encourages that undesirable behavior since it teaches the child that they get rewarded with ice cream for crying and pulling their hair.

To address this behavior, an ABA therapist rewards the autistic girl or boy when they point at the TV, politely ask them to turn down the volume, or express themselves in another desirable manner.

Crying and hair pulling, meanwhile, would be met with silence or inaction.

Ultimately, ABA therapists use incentives like candy, ice cream, and toys to reward good behavior.

Interpersonal Therapy and ABA

A crucial aspect to ABA is interpersonal therapy.

This method looks at how a patient’s mental health is shaped by the way that they relate to and communicate with their family members, friends, classmates, teachers, and others in their lives.

Regardless of whether a therapist uses the ABC or interpersonal approach (or both), their main role is to help autistic children develop their social, academic, behavioral, motor, and overall skills.

ABA therapists typically engage in activities and routines that revolve around these goals.

What does a typical day look like for an ABA therapist?

If you are thinking about becoming an ABA therapist, here are examples of what you will work with autistic children on:

  • Behavioral Skills: Teaching them to sit still on the table, not scratching or biting when upset, and sharing belongings.
  • Communication: Showing them how to verbally ask for a toy or express that they’re uncomfortable or unhappy.
  • Social Skills: Guide them as they play with others, make new friends, and become confident enough to ask questions in the classroom.
  • Academic Performance: Making sure that they learn how to do their homework without being told to, put away their items when they’re done, and politely ask to watch TV or play with their toys after they’re finished.

To enable kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) achieve these objectives and more, ABA therapists have to utilize multiple mediums, settings, and locations.

Mediums That ABA Therapists Use

As a practitioner, you may take advantage of iPad apps to improve autistic children’s skills and play interactive digital and offline games with them.

The following are a few of the benefits of therapeutic iPad use:

  • You can watch and emulate yoga and exercise videos. This is particularly important because it shows autistic kids how to regulate their body movements and enhance their balance and coordination. 
  • An iPad stylus (a pen-shaped tool) helps girls and boys with autism learn how to write (via apps).
  • The stylus also allows them to develop their motor skills when they touch and navigate the iPad screen with it (instead of doing so with their fingers).
  • Dancing and music apps may act as a form of music and movement therapy.

In the same vein, practitioners spend a lot of time playing games and on ABA therapy activities for autism, which might include:

  • Dressing up dolls teaches a child new words/sentences and encourages them to speak.
  • Play dough calms the senses of patients with ASD and energizes their sensory processes.
  • Games that entail organizing items based on their colors.

While it’s common for therapists to play with the child individually, many autistic girls and boys find it therapeutic to engage with a group of kids.

Settings: Individual vs Group Therapy

ABA therapists observe children in one or both of the following settings:

  • Group Therapy: Here, the practitioner monitors how the child interacts with their classmates or treats them among a group of other autistic patients.
  • Individually: The ABA therapist holds one-on-one sessions with the boy or girl.

Keep in mind that, whether it’s a group or individual setting, ABA therapists have to regularly commute and practice their profession in multiple locations.

Locations That Therapists Work In

Here are a few potential places that ABA therapists could watch and work with patients in:

  • Home Visits: You would frequently spend most/all of the day at the child’s home and conduct ABA sessions there.
  • The Therapist’s Office: As a therapist, you will have to see and treat kids at your office, as well. However, it may take the patient more time to get fully comfortable with office sessions in comparison to at-home ones.
  • At School: Some practitioners go to the boy or girl’s school to help them with their social and communication skills.
  • Other Events: In the same vein, therapists commonly observe autistic children at playgrounds, family gatherings, and other social events.

In short, being an ABA therapist can be demanding.

In addition to balancing between the various mediums, settings, and locations that are involved in a treatment program, practitioners must also cater to their patients’ unique and evolving needs.

Is being an ABA therapist difficult?

Professional therapists often run into difficulties and challenges in applied behavior analysis that require patience, organization, and dedication, such as the following:

  • Taking on physical tasks like sitting or standing beside the child as they eat or play, keeping up with their energy levels, and preventing them from causing damage.
  • Addressing problematic and troublesome behaviors. For example, a kid may excessively yell or cry, damage furniture, and throw objects when they’re upset or stressed.
  • Managing a high amount of caseloads.
  • Finding an appropriate work-life balance.
  • Switching between a therapist-patient/child approach to a collaborative one when they talk to the parents or teach them behavioral management techniques.

With that being said, this profession comes with a lot of positive aspects, too.

Is being an ABA therapist a rewarding job?

Yes, it is. In fact, many ABA therapists appreciate and enjoy the rewarding and fulfilling nature of their job due to the following reasons and more:

  • They get to see autistic children improve their skills and reach important personal, academic, social, and developmental milestones.
  • ABA practitioners witness the happiness and pride that they brought to a family firsthand.
  • Throughout the day, therapists experience the joyfulness and lightheartedness of working with kids.
  • They fulfill their passion for giving to others and making a difference in people’s lives.

If you are motivated by these benefits and rewards, especially passion, you are likely to become an effective and successful ABA therapist.

How can I be a successful ABA therapist?

To attain a successful and fruitful career as an ABA therapist, here are some of the qualities that you want to develop or hone:

  • A passion for the career.
  • The patience and willingness to invest in growth and progress. After all, you won’t reap the rewards or notice a major change overnight.
  • You enjoy engaging with children, playing games with them, and participating in other activities for kids.

In addition to demonstrating these qualities, you also have to obtain the proper certification to be a professional ABA therapist.

How do I get started on becoming an ABA therapist?

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) is in charge of overseeing the processes that aspiring ABA therapists have to go through to get certified.

There are three types of certificates that allow you to practice ABA therapy:

  • Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA)
  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral (BCBA-D)

Each of these will require you to have an undergraduate or postgraduate degree.

Alternatively, you may obtain a registered behavior technician (RBT) certification with a high school diploma, which enables you to assist and work with practicing ABA therapists.

However, RBTs aren’t permitted to directly provide the treatment, while BCaBAs and BCBAs can.

Become a BCaBA with a Bachelor’s Degree

To get your BCaBA certification, follow these steps:

  1. Get your undergraduate degree. If your degree is from a college or university that is accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI), skip step 2 and go to step 3.
  2. If your school is not accredited, enroll in 225 classroom hours’ worth of behavior-analytic courses as you work towards your degree. To clarify, this is equal to 15 semester credits or about 23 quarter credits.
  3. Complete 1,000 to 1,300 field hours under the oversight of a supervisor who meets certain requirements.
  4. Submit your application and documents (including your degree and verification that you finished your fieldwork program). 
  5. You can expect to hear back within 45 days with an approval or a denial.
  6. If your application is approved, schedule your exam and pass it.
  7. Check your local or state rules for ABA therapists and, if there are any, make sure that you meet them. 

After that, you may immediately start practicing ABA therapy as long as you have a BACB-registered BCaBA supervisor

From there, you must maintain your BCaBA certificate. Here is how:

  • Regularly work as an ABA practitioner and avoid stopping for prolonged or extended periods.
  • Be consistently supervised.
  • Meet ethical requirements.
  • Renew your certification every two years.

These rules also apply to BCBA and BCBA-D certificates. Yet, BCBA and BCBA-D therapists can work without being supervised.

Become a BCBA with a Master’s Degree:

This what you have to do to become a certified BCBA:

  1. Get your master’s degree. Skip to step 3 if your degree is from an ABAI-accredited institution.
  2. If your school is not accredited, complete 315 classroom hours (21 semester credits/32 quarter credits) of behavior-analytic courses or, alternatively, finish 3 years of work as a behavior-analytic faculty or research member.
  3. Complete 1,500 to 2,000 field hours under the oversight of an eligible supervisor.
  4. Submit your application and documents.
  5. Wait until you get a response within 45 days.
  6. If your application is approved, schedule your exam and pass it.
  7. Check and meet your local or state rules for ABA therapists.

Next, you may begin working as an ABA practitioner right away and without a supervisor. From there, you want to make sure that you renew your certification every two years.

Become a BCBA-D with a Doctorate Degree:

The steps for becoming a BCBA and BCBA-D are very similar. To illustrate, this what getting a BCBA-D certification looks like:

  1. Gain 10 years of work experience as an ABA practitioner (teaching doesn’t count) with a national, state, or local certification.
  2. Complete 500 hours of field work.
  3. Follow the rest of the steps that you would take to get your BCBA certification (steps 4-7 above) and renew it every 2 years.

Apart from the eligibility rules and certificate designation, the roles, responsibilities, and permitted scopes of practice are identical for both BCBA and BCBA-D certificate holders.

As a matter of fact, a similar thing could be said about practicing ABA therapy, in general. Everything goes back to the ABCs, positive enforcement, and other basic therapeutic techniques.

Just as importantly (and regardless of the certification that they have), a typical day for almost any ABA therapist entails playing with children, dealing with behavioral challenges, and reaping the rewards that come with seeing their patients’ lives change.

Macrocephaly in Children with Autism

You’re probably wondering what macrocephaly is and whether this condition is particularly common among children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

When you’re done with this article, you will know what macrocephaly is, its main symptoms, how it impacts autistic kids, the other problems that it may cause, and more.

Do children with autism have large heads?

In recent decades, researchers and scientists conducted a lot of studies about head circumference and brain size in autism spectrum disorder.

When it comes to macrocephaly (having an abnormally large head size), here are what these studies have found:

  • Up to 15.7% of autistic children have macrocephaly.
  • This condition typically appears in the patient’s early childhood years.
  • Macrocephaly impacts kids that were diagnosed with low-functioning autism more frequently than those with less severe ASD symptoms.

Other research reports point to a correlation between gender and having a large head. That is to say that autistic boys are more likely to develop macrocephaly than girls.

At times, the condition shows up when the child is still in their mother’s womb, and it usually goes away by their fifth birthday.

It is hard to know exactly when and how macrocephaly affects patients. This is because the many experts who examined this topic over the last 80 years relied on different research methods and techniques.

How was this discovered?

Autism’s relationship to head size is explained by almost eight decades’ worth of data and analysis, starting with a paper that Leo Kanner authored in 1943.

Kanner observed 11 kids with ASD and noticed that “five had relatively large heads”. However, this sample size was too small and Kanner didn’t study or comment on this issue any further.

In 1999, nearly 60 years later, a report came out and indicated that macrocephaly was prevalent among 20% of autistic patients.

Yet, the Autism Phenome Project disputed these figures in 2011. They argued that the 20% estimate only accounts for children with a bigger-than-average head size.

In turn, the Autism Phenome Project looked at the number of kids with ASD whose head was disproportionately large in relation to their body size. They concluded that 15% (and not 20%) of autistic patients have macrocephaly.

Lastly, but certainly not least, is a 2015 study with over 8,000 participants that found that those with an ASD diagnosis tend to have a bigger head than typically developing children.

Nonetheless, the 2015 review didn’t examine the relationship between the head and brain or body sizes.

Does macrocephaly also mean the child has a large brain?

Those with a large head are more likely to have a brain overgrowth, as well. In fact, brain enlargement impacts 9.1% of children with ASD.

Remember, though, that having a large head doesn’t necessarily mean that an autistic child will also have a large brain.

Which parts of the brain are enlarged?

The cortex is the main part of the brain that gets enlarged. To clarify, the cortex is the thick outer layer that surrounds the brain from the top and takes up most of its volume.

Several studies about brain structure changes in autism explained that multiple areas experience an enlargement, including:

  • Amygdala: Some autistic children might develop an enlarged amygdala (the part that processes emotions) while they’re very young. 
  • Cerebellum: Even though most areas of the brain get bigger, kids with ASD are more likely to have less cerebellum tissues than their neurotypical peers. The cerebellum oversees functions related to bodily balance, cognition, and socializing.
  • Hippocampus: Similar to the amygdala, the hippocampus (the part that creates and preserves memories) commonly increases in size, too.

Scientists and medical experts aren’t sure what the enlarged parts of an autistic child’s brain and cortex are made from or contain. 

One finding suggests that ASD can lead to an excess in cerebrospinal fluids. This is the clear liquid that’s present across the nervous system and regulates many of its physical, sensory, and other processes.

According to a separate study, autism is linked with an excess of neurons in the prefrontal cortex among boys with brain overgrowth. These neurons were identified in the parts that are responsible for a person’s communication capabilities and cognitive growth.

Is macrocephaly problematic?

In addition to how it affects the brain’s structure, macrocephaly is concerning because it goes hand-in-hand with other problems and issues.

Here are some examples:

  • Macrocephaly is linked to shortcomings in communication and social skills, and it sets back an autistic patient’s ability to speak.
  • Children with enlarged brains tend to run into more difficulties with day-to-day tasks (for instance, eating with a fork and knife) than those with a normal-sized brain.
  • A two-year-old or younger autistic child’s head size can indicate how severe their ASD symptoms will be by the time they turn four years old.
  • Kids with a relatively big brain size could see their skills and capabilities decline up until their sixth birthdays.

In light of this, if your autistic son or daughter was diagnosed with macrocephaly, you want to make sure that you prepare for the developmental hurdles that they may run into in the future.

This will allow you to address and minimize the severe symptoms as early and smoothly as possible.

If your child didn’t receive an official diagnosis, you should keep an eye on the potential symptoms.

What else may macrocephaly cause?

In the immediate term, macrocephaly could lead an autistic kid to experience the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting that isn’t explainable or provoked
  • Unusual or strange eye movements
  • Irritability
  • Head bulging
  • Head tightness
  • Crying in an irregularly high-pitched tone

These signs may mean that there is an overflow in brain fluids. They might also manifest themselves when the skull’s bones excessively grow, as well as for other reasons.

Now that you know what the symptoms of macrocephaly are, you should take your son or daughter for a diagnosis once they start to display them.

Remember, up to 15% and 10% of autistic kids get macrocephaly and an enlarged brain, respectively.

These conditions frequently appear during the first two years of a child’s life, and they suggest how severe their ASD will be in the following ones.

Therefore, if your autistic child received a macrocephaly diagnosis, you want to make sure that you prepare for more intense autism symptoms before they even show up.

This allows your child to develop and grow in the healthiest way possible.

When to Start ABA Therapy

Are you trying to learn about ABA therapy as a form of treatment for autism? If so, you’re in the right place.

When you’re done reading this article, you will know what ABA therapy entails and how to determine if it’s the right treatment for your autistic son or daughter.

What is ABA therapy?

ABA therapy stands for applied behavior analysis, and it is considered to be the most effective way to manage and minimize the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

ABA therapy revolves around the concept of positive reinforcement. Simply put, it entails using rewards (such as candy and toys) to incentivize an autistic boy or girl to follow desirable behaviors.

As an example, when the TV volume is too loud, a desirable habit would be for the autistic kid to ask an adult to turn down the TV volume instead of getting agitated or throwing objects at the screen.

Over time, children with ASD learn how to act in a desirable and socially-acceptable way without being incentivized by a reward. This happens gradually as your son or daughter continues to attend ABA sessions on a regular basis.

How do I know if ABA therapy is right for my child?

On most occasions, primary care providers will refer you to an ABA therapist when they believe that your kid has some of the common signs of autism.

After that, the ABA therapist conducts a thorough assessment and screens your child for ASD symptoms.

Symptoms of Autism

You want to take your son or daughter for an autism assessment if they develop one or more of the following signs:

  • Difficulty with communicating their feelings and talking about their emotions.
  • Doesn’t make eye contact and avoids smiling back.
  • Doesn’t respond when his or her name is called.
  • Engages in tasks and activities that may lead them to hurt themselves.
  • Firmly follows a daily schedule, up to the point where they get angry or sad when their routine changes.
  • Interpreting phrases (like “break a leg”) in a literal way and taking them too seriously.
  • Making movements or saying phrases in a very repetitive manner.
  • Obsessing with and getting overly interested in activities, objects, and/or subjects that they like.
  • Physical coordination problems and irregular bodily movements.
  • Struggling to socialize or make friends (in fact, many kids with ASD would prefer to be alone rather than engage with others).

If your son or daughter is displaying any of these autism symptoms, you want to take them in for an assessment as soon as possible.

This way, in the event that they get diagnosed with ASD, you can get them the help that they need right away.

When should my child start ABA therapy?

In short, the sooner that your child starts ABA therapy, the better. After all, your kid’s life will be much easier when they learn how to control and manage their symptoms from a young age.

Here are some of the main benefits to undergoing ABA therapy at an early point:

  • A higher likelihood that the child will successfully form and enhance critical developmental skills.
  • The kid learns how to take care of their health and well-being from the time that they’re really young.
  • They learn how to make friends at an early life stage, which is arguably among the top 10 reasons children with autism deserve ABA.
  • Parents can identify the most effective parenting techniques for their son or daughter and work on establishing a healthy parent-child relationship when the latter is still a little kid.
  • Autistic boys and girls become fully capable of taking care of themselves well before their parents get older and can no longer assist them.
  • It minimizes and/or prevents issues that could impact the child’s school performance.
  • You can set up a long-term academic and career plan for your son or daughter while they’re in elementary school or younger.
  • If the cost of the ABA sessions is a problem, an early start gives you enough time to look for support and obtain financial assistance.
  • Problematic habits and developmental delays may be identified and addressed before they turn into bigger and challenging issues.
  • Their IQ score could go up, even more so when their ABA treatment is initiated at a young age.

Another indirect benefit to early ABA treatment is that it allows your son or daughter to get the extensive and longer sessions out of the way sooner.

How long does ABA therapy last?

The overall duration of your child’s applied behavior analysis treatment and the length of each session are based on various factors.

Most kids attend ABA sessions for about 1 to 3 years. It goes without saying that those with severe autism symptoms and/or complex needs may have to undergo treatment for a relatively longer period.

Many autistic children take on daily sessions, which add up to between 25 and 40 hours per week.

In general, the following aspects will influence the length and duration of your kid’s ABA treatment:

  • Their strengths, weaknesses, and needs
  • The child’s goals, including their academic, social, physical, and personal objectives.
  • The severity of the patient’s ASD symptoms.
  • How well the boy or girl responds to the treatment.
  • The amount of time it takes for the child to get comfortable with ABA.
  • How long it takes the therapist to identify the best techniques for helping your son or daughter.

Keep in mind that, even after your child completes their ABA program, you still have to work on managing their symptoms and potentially enrolling them in other forms of treatment.

What do I do after my child stops ABA therapy?

When your child stops attending ABA sessions, you must have certain strategies in place to help them adapt.

First of all, consider putting together a transition plan with their therapist. This could be done through having them slowly reduce their weekly ABA hours and working on implementing some of the treatment methods at home.

Secondly, make sure that your child stays engaged and challenged emotionally, socially, academically, and physically.

This is attained by communicating with them regularly, collaborating with their school teachers, and participating in activities that enhance the kid’s motor and coordination skills.

Lastly, but certainly not least, is to consider other autism treatments that your boy or girl can attend once they conclude their ABA sessions.

Here, you want to focus on the treatments that improve your child’s weaknesses, enable them to attain their goals, minimize the problematic ASD symptoms, and, above all, build on the ABA techniques that were the most effective and beneficial for your child.