ABA Therapy: Home-Based or Center-Based?

July 11, 2018


Applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy focuses on how learning takes root, and positive reinforcement is at the foundation of this therapy. The notion is that, if rewarded, a behavior will be adapted and repeated.

As a parent or caregiver to a child with autism, you become a one-person investigative team trying to find the best course of action to give to your child to assist them in living a vibrant, full life while learning to cope with the intricacies of autism. So, when it comes to ABA therapy, is it better in the home or in a center?


ABA therapy is recognized as a productive and effective treatment and is endorsed by the US Surgeon General, which is one of the many reasons we make it our primary practice at Pinnacle Autism Therapy. As a parent or caregiver, it’s important to have all the information on ABA therapy to make the best decision for your child, so follow along in today’s post as we take a look at ABA therapy in both the home and at a center.

The Great Debate of ABA Therapy

In the autism community there is a lot we agree on, and some topics that are hotly debated. There is, then, the debate of home-based vs. center-based ABA therapy leaving many unclear on what the better location is. There are advantages to both, so let’s examine what those are.

The advantages of a center-based ABA program include:

  • It’s a social, yet structured environment. While critics would argue that a center-based program can be loud and distracting, it can actually be played to a strength. While this environment can control much of your child’s environment, it allows them to work within the distractions and noise and learn and grow from that. It is also a great place for socialization and real-world experiences with the other kids.
  • A center-based program can also be extremely structured where variables are easily controlled and beneficial for much younger kids, that allows them to gradually grow into more independence as they get older.


The benefits of a home-based ABA program include:

  • It’s all about the location! – You can’t beat a home-based location, it’s right in your own home so there is no commuting involved. Your home is also the most comfortable place for your child, helping them to feel more at ease during the sessions.
  • The parent can oversee the therapy – When there is an in-home therapist, a parent or caregiver can watch the interaction between the therapist and their child, and have a better understanding of how ABA therapy is used, leading to opportunities for the parent to incorporate it when the therapist is gone.

So, which one is right for you? How about both! It’s important to keep in mind that autism isn’t an isolated condition that is compartmentalized to one environment, it is a part of their whole life whether they’re at home or outside of it. Speak with an autism specialist and create an ABA plan that is tailored to your child’s individual needs.

For more information on our autism and ABA services, connect with us today!

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