|Behavior Modification Using Either ABA or
The key to changing behaviors is understanding the function or purpose - in
other words, what need of the child is being met through the behavior. We
perform a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) in order to identify those
needs. Adults often assume that inappropriate behaviors are attention-
seeking or an attempt to "get back" at adults for something they have said
or done. However, this is often not the case. Many children act in ways
which will get legitimate needs met. For example, every child has the need
for adequate sleep, healthy and sufficient food and water, feeling safe,
getting attention from adults, feeling accepted by peers, exploring the
environment, learning, managing sensory input, and finding ways to self-
soothe or maintain a state of well-being.
It is also important to identify what might be reinforcing or causing the
child to continue the inappropriate behavior. Through skilled observation of
the child and thorough interview of the parent and/or teacher, these
important factors can be ascertained, and a behavior modification plan can
be developed, shaping new behaviors by providing positive reinforcement for
desired behaviors and setting reasonable limits with consistent consequences
in order to extinguish undesirable behaviors.
Following is a list of "red flags" which are behaviors that possibly signal the
need for further evaluation and professional help:
1. Difficulty in either making or keeping friends.
2. Delay in development compared to other children of the same
age—walking, talking, potty training, feeding himself/herself, being
able to ride a bicycle.
3. Preoccupation with parts of objects rather than using objects the
way they are intended (such as fingering or feeling Legos rather
than building with them).
4. Difficulty in maintaining eye contact—often doesn’t look at people
when conversing with them.
5. Trouble understanding the intention of others—thinks others are out
to hurt him/her.
6. Poor behavior control—is easily provoked and gets into physical
fights or tantrums.
7. Doesn’t seem to know how to make believe in play.
8. Difficulty in having a two-way conversation with people.
9. Having a limited set of interests.
10.Difficulty accepting changes in routine.
11.Trouble sitting still for even short periods of time, trouble concentrating,
or trouble maintaining attention.
12.Displays sexual behavior that seems advanced for his/her age.
13.Often doing things like rock, flapping hands, wringing hands, banging
head, or repeating unusual finger/hand movements.
14.No longer doing developmentally appropriate things even though
he/she used to do them.
15.Bad grades, trouble with specific subjects such as reading or math,
or difficulty in completing homework.
16.Change in eating, sleeping, or activity level.
17.Talk of wanting to die or harm himself/herself.
18.Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there (other than in make
19.Repeatedly engages in elaborate routines or rituals.
20.Deliberately cuts himself/herself.
21.Engages in delinquent behaviors like vandalism, stealing, lying,
being mean to animals or people, skipping school, or running away.
22.Eats unusual things which are not food.
23.Frequently pulls out his/her hair.
24.Has strange movements, walks in an awkward way, or spontaneously
makes awkward sounds.
25.Frequent nightmares, bedwetting, worrying, or refusal to go places.
If your child displays any of these behaviors with some regularity, you may
wish to consider an evaluation. Parents often are advised by well-meaning
family, friends, teachers, and even physicians to wait and see if the child
outgrows these behaviors; however, please keep in mind that early
intervention can make a difference in your child's development and future
We provide behavior modification through several different therapeutic
approaches. These include Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy,
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Parent Education and Support
(Family Therapy), depending upon which method (or combination thereof)
best fit the individual's needs.