Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy


Tokyo Mental Health is currently offering ABA therapy to clients across Japan through online/telehealth.
Please feel free to book an appointment or ask us any question!

What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy?

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is an evidence-based method to improve or change specific behaviors. The intervention is designed to assist children and their families in socially significant ways.  ABA therapy helps to teach complex tasks by breaking them down into simple, discrete steps. It focuses both on observable events (example: kicking, running, screaming) and private events (example: thinking, imagining).

ABA therapists use the principles of applied behavior analysis to decrease challenging behavior, increase/teach appropriate behavior, and teach functional skills and communication. They work on building individualized treatment plans based on discussions with the parent/caregiver and an assessment.

ABA Therapy at Tokyo Mental Health

Table of Contents

How does ABA Therapy work?

Here is the comprehensive list of steps taken during ABA therapy.

Step 1: Assessment

  • Consists of 2-4 sessions
  • To identify the function of a problem behavior, two types of assessments are performed: indirect and direct assessments.
  • Indirect assessment includes interviewing parents/caregivers/teachers regarding the behavior. A questionnaire is shared with the parents as a subjective method to identify the function of the behavior.
  • Direct assessment works as an objective method of identification during this step. 

Step 2: Skill-based Evaluation

  • Consists of 1-4 sessions (varies depending on the client compliance, problem behavior, child’s level of communicating with the therapist)
  • This evaluation is to analyze strengths and challenges of the child.
  • Skill acquisition goals will be set based on this evaluation.
  • Skill assessment is done using tools like VB-MAPP (Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program), ABLLS (Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills) and AFLS (Assessment of Functional Living Skills) depending on child skill level.
  • Online/in-clinic sessions are conducted to evaluate skill areas.
      TMH Shintomi office green room

      Step 3: Setting the Treatment Plan

      • Consists of 1-2 sessions
      • A behavior intervention plan (BIP) is developed by the BCBA based on the assessment (Step 3) and is discussed with the clients.
      • Skills that parents are concerned about can also be included in the treatment plan. Skills can be included only if the BCBA determines that it is age appropriate and if the child has the skill level to acquire it.
      ABA Therapy Treatment Plan

      Step 4: Parent Training on the Treatment Plan

      • Consists of 1-2 sessions
      • The parent receives training on implementing the behavior plan and data collection.
      • Sessions includes the breakdown of the treatment plan, modeling, and feedback to ensure the parent can implement the training at a mastery level.
      • Once mastered, the parent continues to implement the treatment plan and measures data.
      ABA Therapy Parent Training

      Step 5: Implementation of the Treatment Plan

      • A couple of weeks are given for the parent/caregiver to implement the treatment plan and programs based on the skill evaluation, as well as collect data on the problem behavior. 
      • If the parents have any queries or face any problem behavior during implementation, additional sessions can be included to analyze the issues and to rectify it.
      A family engaging in family therapy

      Step 6: Data Analysis

      • Consists of 1 session
      • Prior to the session, parents share the collected data with the BCBA so that he/she can display the data graphically during the session.
      • The data are carefully analyzed by the BCBA.
      • Behavior progress is discussed with the parents and if the child is showing progress, they are advised to continue collecting the data.
      • If the client shows no improvement in the behavior, then the treatment plan is reviewed to rectify the issue.
      • A minimum of 2 weeks worth of data is needed to identify the effect of the treatment plan without any effects of extraneous variables.
      A lightbulb represents ideas

      Step 7: Review & Final Report

      REVIEW

      • Consists of 1-2 sessions
      • Reviewing happens once in 3 months or in 6 months depending upon the child’s development and family needs.

      FINAL REPORT

      • Consists of 1 session
      • A final report, which states all the goals that have been worked on, a graphical display, the client’s progress on the goals, and a final summary, is developed.
      • The report will be discussed with the parent/caregiver.

      Data is collected and continuously evaluated during the baseline and intervention phases and guides all decisions regarding intervention modification. The goal is to produce effective and generalizable changes in behavior. Reassessment will be done once every 6 months, or when either the client masters all the goals or the current treatment plan doesn’t work anymore.

      Strategies Used During ABA Therapy

      Some common strategies used in ABA are reinforcement, modeling, prompting, chaining, shaping, the token system, natural environment training, and functional communication training (FCT). Systematic manipulation of environmental events, such as repeated presentation, and the removal of antecedents (events that immediately precede the behavior) and consequences (events that immediately follow the behavior) will be followed by teaching appropriate skills to decrease the inappropriate behavior and to increase the replacement behavior.

      ABA therapy is a recommended option for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This is suggested by many leading insurance companies, state health agencies in the USA, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

      What does a Family Need to Do?

      Early diagnosis and intervention are highly recommended to see long term positive effects in children with ASD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and developmental delays. To minimize the stress on the family, we recommend that a family respond immediately to challenging situations early on. The situation may accumulate more stress, especially if you don’t know how to handle and cope with severe behaviors. During ABA, a therapist works closely with the family, discusses skills they want their child to improve, identifies the skill deficit through assessment, and tailors the intervention plan accordingly. Parent/caregiver/teacher training is also provided to teach and/or generalize the behavior to various settings. 

      For more positive results, we encourage parents to actively participate in the session whenever possible. This helps the parents understand more about the ways to handle their children at home and at various settings which eventually allows them to explore more settings with the child without challenging behaviors.

      We also work closely with family and children who are having severe sensory issues and find difficulty in brushing their teeth, taking baths, getting a haircut, etc. We use the desensitization/shaping procedure and slowly expose the child to the specific environments and objects.

      Helpful Resources

      Below are some resources for parents and caregivers about ABA, tips on how to work with their children, and methods to expand communication skills in a natural setting.

      Make an Appointment

      Currently, our ABA therapy service is offered through online/telehealth.

      To make an ABA therapy appointment, please use the booking form of our Counseling and Psychotherapy page, or use the following email address : [email protected]

      If you have not heard back from us within 24 hours, please check your email spam folder, then email us or call us on 03-6280-4750 (9am-9pm).

      TMH Shintomi office green room