Advanced Behavior Analysis

F.A.Q.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the science in which the principles of behavior are applied systematically to improve socially significant behavior and experimentation is used to identify the variables responsible for behavior change” (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007). In simpler terms, ABA is the science of altering the environment and applying strategies to reduce challenging behaviors while increasing adaptive behaviors. We believe that each individual should be part of the planning process for their engagement in ABA therapy. ABA therapy targets social skills (in a neurodiversity affirming way), communication, daily living skills and more by applying evidence-based methods to improve a child’s ability to interact with their natural environment. We focus on the use of intrinsic motivation to work with the child while promoting a safe and controlled environment, giving them the best chance at success. Our approach is completely individualized to each child. We seek to understand the function (or the reason) behind each behavior with the knowledge that behavior is communication. We attempt to listen to this communication by implementing evidence based interventions while keeping a neurodiversity affirming approach in mind each step of the way.

Traditional ABA Practices vs. Progressive ABA Practices

 

Traditional ABA


  • Compliance focused, where clients would be required to engage in a certain behavior in order to receive reinforcement or breaks. 
  • Extrinsic motivation: accessing reinforcement is  dependent on outside physical items (food, toys, activities etc.). These items are withheld until the desired behavior is emitted. 
  • Social skills programs focused on teaching autstic children to appear neurotypical by masking autistic traits. 
  • Focused heavily on the perspective of the stakeholders only, not as much the feelings and opinions of the client. 
  • Hours are based on maximizing billable potential. 
  • Solely skill and behavior based.
  • Physical prompts are used in most situations. 
  • Restraints used frequently for challenging behaviors. 
  • Self stimulatory behavior is usually always seen as inappropriate and in need of reduction or modification.
  • Use of extinction and planned ignoring to ignore the child and the behavior the child is engaging in. 
  • May ignore child boundaries and focus solely on compliance.
  • Learners have no say or choice in what they learn.  
  • Used primarily discrete trial training (DTT) to focus on learning only at the table. 
  • All goals within assessments must be mastered prior to discharge. 
  • Little collaboration with other professionals involved with the learner. 
  • Did not consider trauma whatsoever. 
  • Focuses on the medical model of disability  
  • Focuses only on a child’s behavior, disregarding private events such as feelings and emotions. 

Progressive ABA


  • Compassion focused, where a child is taught ways to advocate for their feelings and needs in a safe space. Attempts to communicate are honored and respected.
  • Intrinsic motivation, focused on encouraging connection between the learner and the technician/teacher.
  • Social skills programs focus on social emotional learning. SEL prioritizes teaching learners to be who they truly are, while increasing psychological flexibility and self advocacy skills.
  • Client assent is considered each step of the way. Clients are involved in treatment planning when available and appropriate.
  • Hours are based solely on medical necessity. Participation in prescribed hours is up to stakeholders and clients.   
  • While skills and behaviors are important to consider, the new approach to ABA includes teaching functional communication, sensory regulation, emotional regulation, self advocacy, coping skills and independent living skills. 
  • Physical prompts are used as a last resort and end the second the child withdraws assent. Protecting bodily autonomy is at the core of progressive ABA. 
  • Restraints are used as an absolute last resort and are ONLY used if the learner poses a serious danger to themselves or others. 
  • The new ABA perspective recognizes that self stimulatory behavior is key to self regulation. Self stimulatory behaviors (stimming) can be shaped to be more appropriate considering certain circumstances, but should never be eliminated. 
  • Planned ignoring should only ignore the behavior, NOT the child. We can ignore inappropriate attention seeking behavior, while redirecting to an appropriate alternative.  While we may ignore the inappropriate behavior, we will continue to provide attention to the child and their successes. 
  • Child boundaries and assent are at the forefront of all programming and are considered consistently. We also teach children to advocate for their boundaries and their needs. 
  • Learners are consistently given choices on what they would like to learn or engage in. 
  • Learning is done in a more naturalistic way. While discrete trial training is utilized, naturalistic teaching and incidental teaching are preferred.
  • Goals within assessments are selected for the learner. If certain goals are not relevant or necessary, they will be omitted and not required for discharge. 
  • Frequent collaboration with all other professionals involved with the learner. 
  • Most research suggests that most autistic children have experienced some form of trauma. With that in mind, a trauma informed perspective is considered and implemented. 
  • Focuses on the social model of disability
  • Takes a whole child approach to look at the whole child and the whole picture rather than only the 4 functions of behavior. 



  • In this context, ABA therapy is designed for those with an autism diagnosis or those who are neurodivergent. ABA therapy is also designed for those who need 1:1 support and attention. That being said, ABA principles and methods can benefit anyone!
Once insurance authorization for beginning the assessment process has been received by our billing team, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) will be assigned to the case. During the first meeting, the BCBA will get to know the family, the concerns of the family, get to know the child, observe the child and use assessment tools to determine what strengths the child already possesses and what skills can be worked on to further grow the existing strengths. Each company uses different assessment tools; we use the ABLLS, Vineland III, VB-MAPP and AFLS assessments. While we may not use all assessments, the BCBA will determine which assessments are appropriate for the child based on the information given from the parent. After assessments are completed, the BCBA will create an individualized treatment plan that is reviewed by a regional manager to ensure the plan follows neurodiversity affirming practice in line with our values. Once the treatment plan is approved by the parent, the treatment plan will be submitted to insurance for approval. After approval, a team will be created and assigned and services can begin.

Before discussing neurodiversity affirming practice, it is important to understand neurodiversity. Neurodiversity is the concept of natural differences across the spectrum of human brains. Each person has something unique and valuable to offer the world due to their neurological differences. Neurodiversity can include individuals across the spectrums of Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia, etc. Our approach to neurodiversity affirming practice is one we are actively learning about and working to improve upon daily. As a neurodiversity affirming practice, we use methods that allow children to exercise their right to bodily autonomy. This means that we listen to both verbal and nonverbal cues (e.g. body language). We reinforce attempts to communicate the need for personal space, breaks, sensory interventions, assistance, etc. We use hand over hand prompting as a last resort, as this is considered an intrusive intervention and we strive to create an environment where children can learn with the least restrictive supports in place. Statistically, Autistic children are 6-7 times more likely to be victims of sexual assault. Our mission to reduce physical prompting and teach self advocacy skills and bodily autonomy has a lot to do with keeping every child safe throughout their lives. Furthermore, we are looking into alternative assessments that do not focus on deficits. The current assessment methods hold neurodivergent kids to neurotypical standards. It’s unfair and frankly, unethical. These types of assessments do not foster a positive sense of self for our learners. Unfortunately, the way funding sources are set up requires us to use these deficit based measures in order to obtain the necessary authorizations for insurance coverage. As more practitioners join the neurodiversity movement, we hope to see this change in the near future

Advanced Behavior Analysis is working hard to set itself apart from other ABA companies. Here are a few ways we are working toward that.

  • As a smaller company, we focus heavily on a teamwork approach when it comes to the individual treatment of our clients. Each of our team members have unique knowledge and a unique approach in which combining them creates something truly special and unique.
  • Our analysts have small caseloads, allowing them to have more time with their clients and provide quality service to each of them.
  • Our training process for our incoming team members includes an in-depth training of not only company policy, but also clinical information to make them fully prepared and ready to implement behavior plans and skill goals with accuracy and fidelity. Not only are our team members trained from day 1, our training continues during each supervision and during monthly meetings where the team can learn, grow and collaborate with one another. Our team members are also required to complete the Registered Behavior Technician training and certification process to ensure the best quality of treatment.
  • Our clinic space contains a state of the art sensory gym designed by an occupational therapist as well as a unique circle time and center rotation system that includes use of private work rooms to allow clients to focus.
  • We are one of the only practices in Utah who use a neurodiversity affirming practice model. As a neurodiversity affirming practice, we use methods that allow children to exercise their right to bodily autonomy. This means that we listen to both verbal and nonverbal cues (e.g. body language). We reinforce attempts to communicate the need for personal space, breaks, sensory interventions, assistance, etc. We use hand over hand prompting as a last resort, as this is considered an intrusive intervention and we strive to create an environment where children can learn with the least restrictive supports in place. Statistically, Autistic children are 6-7 times more likely to be victims of sexual assault. Our mission to reduce physical prompting and teach self advocacy skills and bodily autonomy has a lot to do with keeping every child safe throughout their lives.
  • We are constantly updating and improving upon our policies and procedures as well as how we train our team to ensure the best quality treatment for our clients and staff.
  • Our administration model is unique and offers heavy oversight to our technicians and behavior analysts to ensure quality treatment and experience for our clients and their families.

Yes! We love collaborating with other professionals to ensure each of our clients gets the best quality of care. Working together with other professionals ensures all treatment is aiming toward the same goal and that all treatment objectives align with one another. We truly see the value in collaboration and enjoy the connections we make with each professional working with our learners.

We accept the following insurances

  • i. Select Health
  • ii. UHC / Optum
  • iii. Regence / Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • iv. Medicaid
  • v. Aetna
  • vi. Cigna / Evernorth
  • vii. PEHP
  • viii. University of Utah Health Plans
  • ix. EMI
-We accept private pay and have payment plans available.
We will soon be contracted with Tricare and Molina.
Our current availability for beginning services can be found on our instagram or through our billing team. Our waitlist changes regularly primarily due to staffing availability. Additionally, COVID restrictions can also affect wait times.  

Yes! Each treatment package contains parent training and goals for each parent that are designed to further the skills being targeted during ABA. We also send a parent newsletter monthly on relevant topics within the field to keep our parents up to date on the most recent research and field development. Finally, we frequently post educational content on our blog and on our instagram that is created by our team of analysts. We are always looking for new ways to serve our community and have some projects we are currently working on to continue to offer more support and resources to our families.

With the pandemic’s numbers and most recent recommendations always changing, we keep a close eye on the most recent recommendations from the state and the CDC. We have a strict illness policy that is in line with CDC recommendations that our administration team consistently monitors. We also have intensive cleaning protocols within our clinic space to ensure it is sanitary and sterile for each of our clients receiving services within the clinic space. While the pandemic has presented many challenges, we have weathered the storm well and continue to provide services to our clients during this unprecedented time.

Advanced Behavior Analysis provides services in the following following counties:

  • Salt Lake
  • Wasatch 
  • Summit
  • Davis
  • Utah

Clinic services are available in our Sandy clinic in Salt Lake County. We will be opening a Davis county location soon, keep an eye on our Instagram for updates. 

The waiting list for Advanced Behavior Analysis changes frequently depending on staff availability. To get our most current availability and wait list information, please email our billing manager at Tara@Advancedbehavioranalysis.com.

Advanced Behavior Analysis schedules ABA sessions into 3 time blocks. Block 1 includes 8/9am-Noon, Block 2 includes Noon-3pm and Block 3 includes 3-6pm. We have adopted this scheduling system as it allows the technicians to have consistent schedules. This helps us with retention and organization. Individual scheduling needs are handled by our scheduling department. 

Yes! We are proud to disseminate information on neurodiversity affirming ABA practices as well as helpful parent information on our social media platforms. You can find us @advancedbehavioranalysis on Instagram, Facebook and Linkdin.