How is ABA Therapy and Naturalistic Behavioral Therapy different

An article was recently published and mentioned a few points about how ABA therapy can be too extensive and in turn be “abusive” to children. This article also helps us to explain how a naturalistic approach may be a better therapy option for your children.



1. About the classical type of ABA Therapy


Typically, in an ABA Therapy, children go through “Drills” where the same instruction will be given for about 10 trials and the responses will be recorded. It is expected that children will improve and provide an increased number of “correct responses” after going through the drills a few times a week. It is also normal for an ABA Therapy provider to suggest up to 40 hours a week of therapy. Inappropriate behaviours are also corrected or discouraged through different types of strategies used in a clinical therapy session.


2. More about Behavioural Therapy with a Naturalistic Approach


Naturalistic Behavioural Therapy teaching style is rooted in many of the same behavioural principals in ABA. However, it focuses more on the unique experiences of the individual child. We focus more on rapport building to understand the child and possible functions and reasons to their behaviours. Using a personalised approach, the therapist uses the child’s daily activities and routines to dictate the progress of the session. Such approaches allows the therapist to focus on very specific target behaviours associated with the factors that contributes to the behaviours.


Naturalistic Behavioral Therapy are less structured compared to ABA as it allows the child to take control over the toys and activities they choose. By following the. Child’s lead, the therapist will be able to create multiple opportunities for practice in a way that is meaningful and easier for the skills to be generalised.


Typically, in a Naturalistic Behavioral Therapy, we sometimes use repeated instructions to teach a skills before generalizing it to other areas. The therapist will provide different opportunities to practice the skills and at the same time, other skills may also be worked on at the same time.


Emotional outbursts, protests and aggression are studied and observed using a “Antecedent – Behavior – Consequences” so that the Therapists are able to point out the reason and function of the behaviours, then provide a replacement behaviour to help the child cope with the feelings better.


Therapy Kidz recommends for the children to go through therapy once a week for a two hour session. An additional session will only be recommended if it is really necessary. Our therapist will also share the strategies with the parents so that parents can continue to provide opportunities to practice.


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