Evolution of Autism Therapy

The Evolution of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Have you heard any discussion about ABA? What is it all about? How do we at Soar Autism Center approach ABA for our clients?

Skim through the following What Is ABA infographic and learn more about our approach at Soar Autism Center.

Skinner/Pavlov, classical and operant conditioning with animals



Theoretical underpinnings; specific methods no longer used

Discrete Trial Training (DTT)


Lovaas, focus on behavior reinforcement in highly structured settings

Clinically effective in studies

Potentially less translatable outside of training environment

Heavy-handed response to challenging behaviors potentially used

Rogers, Dawson, Koegels, others, focus on play-based, naturalistic models that merge behavior learning with developmental science


Naturalistic developmental behavior interventions (NDBIs)

Play-based, following the child’s lead and motivation

High level of parent involvement

Clinically effective in studies

Focus on relationship building and developmentally-appropriate interventions

Sometimes too unstructured to make progress

Choices for parents today

Average Autism Clinic

Soar Autism Center

Highly structured ABA sessions using DTT used as first option for most kids

Naturalistic techniques (NDBIs) used from time to time as needed

Frontline staff with little/no training on naturalistic approaches

Naturalistic ABA methods (NDBIs) used as first option for all young learners

Deep training for frontline staff on naturalistic ABA methods (Early Start Denver Model)

DTT used if children are not progressing with naturalistic methods

Integrated Autism Care
Naturalistic, Play-Based Autism Therapy

Soar Autism Center

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