Outpatient Services | Assessment & Testing

ABA for Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Applied Behavior Analysis

State-of-the-art treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders

What is Applied Behavior Analysis?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) can help persons with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) live happy and productive lives. ABA techniques can reduce challenging behaviors and foster new skills such as looking, listening and imitating, as well as complex skills such as reading, conversing and understanding another person’s perspective.

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, “While there’s no proven cure yet for autism spectrum disorders, treating ASD early, using school-based programs, and getting proper medical care can greatly reduce ASD symptoms and increase your child’s ability to grow and learn new skills. Research has shown that intensive behavioral therapy [such as ABA] during the toddler or preschool years can significantly improve cognitive and language skills in young children with ASD.”

ABA is widely accepted as a safe and effective treatment for ASD. In fact, Michigan law mandates insurance companies pay for treatment of ASD and specifies ABA be used as the treatment.


What to Look for in an ABA Program

While there is no single best treatment for all children with ASD, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently noted common features of
effective early intervention programs. These features include:

  • Begin as soon as a child has been diagnosed with ASD.
  • Provide focused and challenging learning activities at the proper developmental level for the child.
  • Provide special training for parents and family members.
  • Measure and record each child’s progress and adjust the intervention program as needed.
  • Guide the child in adapting learned skills to new situations and settings, and maintaining learned skills.
  • Use a curriculum focused on language and communication, social skills, self-help and daily living skills, research-based methods to reduce challenging behaviors (such as aggression and tantrums), and school-readiness skills (such as letter recognition and counting).

Why Choose ABA at Pine Rest?

We will assess your child’s needs and design an individualized ABA treatment program with specific goals to reduce problem behaviors and to increase functioning in the following areas:

  • Communication skills
  • Academic skills
  • Social skills
  • Self-care
  • recreation/play and leisure
  • Physical education/motor skills

We empower parents and caregivers with techniques that can make a difference in their child’s life.

We track data on all areas being addressed so treatment progress can be easily measured and procedures and goals can be adjusted as needed.

We strive to provide the broadest range of research-based treatments that are in-line with National Institute for Mental Health
and American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations.

ABA evaluations and services are provided by board certified behavior analysts (BCBA).

ABA FAQs for Patients & Families

ABA is considered a “best practice” treatment for individuals on the autism spectrum by the U.S. Surgeon General and the American Psychological Association.

ABA has also shown to be effective in teaching people who struggle with traumatic brain injury and addiction.

In short, ABA can be beneficial for all, including neurotypical individuals.  

ABA focuses on increasing appropriate behaviors, such as language skills, autonomy and independence, while decreasing problematic behaviors to allow the patient to live a happy, fulfilling and meaningful life.

The skills taught by ABA are highly individualized and prioritized based on the goals of the learner and/or the family. Language, adaptive living, vocational, leisure/play, planning and organizing, self-advocacy, and managing money are all examples of skills that can be taught using ABA interventions.

At Pine Rest, our ABA treatment motto is always “compassion over compliance.”

While initial assessments are most effectively performed at the clinic, our clinicians individualize treatment plans for each learner so that future sessions can take place in comfortable and familiar environments such as at home, school or out in the community.

One of the core components of ABA is reinforcement, i.e. when a positive consequence directly follows a behavior and increases that behavior in the future. Although reinforcement is necessary to teach skills in ABA, our program works to systematically decrease the amount of reinforcement being used with the learner over time.

Some ABA learners may initially only be motivated by more contrived reinforcement (e.g., toys or snacks). In this case, natural reinforcement (e.g., social praise, high fives) is paired with more contrived reinforcement over time, which helps build motivation by natural reinforcers. More contrived reinforcement methods can then gradually be discontinued. 

Highly motivated family members can participate in ABA with great success, continuing the treatment at home and engaging in the treatment process along with trained professionals.


Charges are based on the type of evaluation provided, and most types of insurance are accepted. An intake coordinator and insurance specialist help navigate complex insurance issues. Some assistance is available for those with financial need.

ABA Location

At the Pine Rest Southwest Clinic, our Team utilizes powerful tools and strategies based on Applied Behavior Analysis to reduce problem behaviors and teach life skills. We have been successful in expanding communication, social, independent living, recreation and academic skills in a measurable fashion.

To learn more or schedule an appointment call 866.852.4001.