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Components of a Quality ABA Program

As parents of children with autism, LA FEAT has compiled the following information to aid families in selecting an ABA program for their child. We believe that ABA programs should have the following components:


Analysis of recent studies shows that there is a correlation between the number of hours of intervention and the outcome of the therapy. Programs that are more intensive in hours produce better and longer lasting results. Research indicates that 40 hours per week is appropriate for the majority of young autistic children. An ABA provider should make recommendations for hours based on research and the child’s needs, not what the school district or regional center is willing to fund.

Learning in a 1:1 environment

Because many young autistic children lack the social and communication skills necessary to be successful in a group environment, the ABA provider often will begin teaching skills in a one-on-one setting, typically in the home. After the skills are learned in that setting, they are generalized to other settings, such as school and the community.

Program addresses all developmental domains

An effective program will address all aspects of the child’s disability. Deficits in communication, attention, social, play, gross motor, fine motor, self-help, cognitive and academic skills, and behavioral challenges are targeted in the child’s individualized curriculum. Targets for each area should be developed based on the child’s individual strengths and deficits in each area.

Emphasis on generalizing skills

Generalization means that the child can perform a particular skill in any environment, with any person, objects or instructions. A quality ABA program has a systematic, continuous plan for generalizing skills learned in the therapy room.

Quality supervision

Supervisors should meet regularly with the parents and aides regularly to discuss the child’s progress, identify new areas of strength and weakness, and adjust the program curriculum. Supervisors should have experience and education in ABA and should work with either a PhD level psychologist or Board Certified ABA Therapist in developing the child’s program.

Data analysis

ABA is a data-driven treatment. The program should regularly record, review and analyze data related to the child’s progress in the program. The results of this analysis should be used to develop an individualized curriculum and behavioral strategies for the child.

Goal is independence in a typical setting

In a quality program, the goal is to increase the skill levels of the child to the extent that the program is no longer required in order to maintain success in a typical setting. While this is not a goal that can be realized by all autistic children, the ABA provider should be building skills to achieve independence to the maximum extent possible.


LA FEAT is familiar with ABA providers in the Los Angeles area, and we can help you find a provider that will provide an intensive, research-based program. Please see our list of Local Providers.


Disclaimer: Everything contained herein is provided for general informational purposes only and should not be misconstrued as legal, medical, or any other type of professional advice. Nothing contained herein is intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from your own medical and legal professionals. LA FEAT makes no promises, guarantees or implied agreements as to the accuracy or completeness of anything contained or referenced to herein, or how such may affect your family. Please seek out your own professional advice before making any decisions concerning your child.