ABA, Speech, or Occupational Therapy?

Professionals in the fields of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Occupational Therapy (OT), and Speech Therapy (ST) all share the goal of making a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) by re-shaping their communicative and day-to-day living skills.

However, each child with autism is unique, and different deficits call for different therapy approaches. Although some target areas of ABA, OT, and ST overlap, ABA offers a more comprehensive approach for children on the Spectrum.

What Makes ABA Therapy and Speech Therapy Different?

Speech therapy can help children with a variety of speech deficits, including problems with articulation and fluency, voice disorders, expressive disorders (difficulty putting words together or expressing wants and needs), and receptive disorders (trouble with understanding language). ABA can help with these areas too.

Speech therapists also help children work on pronunciation, intonation, pitch, and fluency, which are areas that are also targeted in ABA. ST can be beneficial for children who already have the ability to vocalize speech but need help fine-tuning certain aspects of it.

However, many children on the autism spectrum are entirely nonverbal, meaning that the core functions of language must be addressed before targeting problems with articulation and fluency. This is where ABA targets the more fundamental language deficits for which ST falls short.

What Makes ABA Therapy and Occupational Therapy Different?

OT helps children with ASD improve upon specific developmental areas such as motor deficits, adaptive skills, and sensory issues. It can build some of the essential skills for day-to-day life, like bathroom etiquette and physical coordination. These are areas that ABA also tackles.

OT is particularly beneficial for children with severe physical impairments, but it doesn’t cover as many areas of human functioning as ABA. Along with improving motor skills, adaptive skills, and sensory processing issues, ABA helps children with ASD progress in the areas of language, play, social skills, cognition, executive functions (problem-solving, planning, memory), and academics.

Which Therapy is Best for My Child?

In short, ABA can address many of the same deficits focused on by OT and ST, but also targets additional developmental areas that are critical for living out a fulfilling life.

The ABA curriculum at Action Behavior Centers is customized to focus on the specific developmental needs of each child. Most children in OT and ST programs only receive a few hours of therapy per week, while ABC offers full-time programs with 40 hours of therapy per week. More therapy hours per week leads to more drastic results, which is validated by empirical scientific research.

To find out more about ABA therapy, contact any of our centers or fill out our obligation-free New Client Application.