Frequently Asked Questions


Do I have to have a therapy room to conduct ABA sessions?

In short no. A great ABA programme will incorporate learning and teaching around the person's daily environment. We do suggest that you arrange a space for teaching materials that are easy for the tutor(s)/ or familiy members to locate. This may mean boxing up and putting teaching items away after teaching a particular skill.


Do you work with other professionals, such as OT's and SaLT's?

Absolutely! In fact one of HeadStart’s Consultant's Cynthia Ewers-Cobb is currently training to become a speech and language therapist. We do ask that we meet other professionals to make sure that all parties involved with the client are in agreement with regards to programme intervention, how it will run, the behaviour strategies used etc.

Additional therapies suggested by other professionals should not contrast with The HeadStart approach otherwise this may hinder client progress.


Will you use bribes (e.g. crisps, chocolate) to temp my child to work?

This is sadly one of the most common misunderstandings about how ABA is used to teach children. What we work with is a person's motivation, which is different with every client. Some clients may find it rewarding to receive sweets and chocolate after achieving a difficult task, but others may be happier to hear you say “well done”, while another loves it when you give them a big swing in the air or read them a book. The key is to capture what motivates our clients and help them to learn in a way that is fun and rewarding.


What is the difference between ABA, Verbal Behaviour (VB), Positive Behaviour Support (PBS), Pivotal Response Training (PRT)?

In short, all four follow principles of behaviour analysis. They all work on changing what happens before and after a particular behaviour, so that the behaviour will change under similar circumstances in the future.

PBS emphasis on the “pro-active” side of changing behaviour. It mainly works on changing what happens before an undesirable behaviour occurs, so that the client learns from their success instead of failure.

Verbal Behaviour conceptualises the use of language in terms of its function. This means it focus on helping the client to use the right words in the right context.

ABA is refered by some people as The Lovaas programme, which means it is similar to the original one Dr. Lovaas used in his research. It uses teaching techniques such as discreate trial teaching.

PRT capitolises on the child's motivation, responsivness to social and self managment. PRT teaches multiple targets at a time based on the childs motivation this is usually conducted in a more naturalistic learning environment.

Some providers may place emphasis that they are specifically providing one of the above, that is different than the other two. Our consultants at HeadStart ABA are familiar with all four and numerous other approaches and will choose the method that draws the best out of our clients. Why limit your-child/ your-self to one!


What is the parent’s role in an ABA programme?

It is vital that parents are involved in the intervention. You are expected to attend each clinic and training. We like to encourage parents to also get involved in the formal teaching to help clinets learn quicker.

Parents and family are key to ensuring generalisation of mastered skills, making sure that each target their child learns becomes functional and thus helping to improve the quality of the family life as a whole. In short, the more involvement the better! We of course understand a family's need of full time working parents and as part of the service your consultant will support you and your family with your individual circumstances.


What is the difference between non-evidence and evidence based interventions?

ABA is an evidence based intervention, this means all the methods to teach your child are scientifically tested and proven to be effective in changing behaviour. Your consultant makes decisions in the programme based on what is tried and proven to work.

There are also a lot of other interventions that claim to be effective, backed by a very plausible theory but lacks vigorous scientific testing to prove its effectiveness. These interventions may work, but they are not guaranteed. We have the ethical duty to advise you to approach these interventions with caution.

The procedure of a non-evidence based intervention may interfere with procedures in our programme and affect its effectiveness. It also takes away time and money from an intervention that is proven to be effective. Some of these interventions may also cause physical harm to clients.

Therefore, if you consider other types of intervention for your child/ young person along-side an ABA programme, please discuss this with your consultant before you begin.