How Many ABA Therapy Hours Should Your Child Receive?

How Many Hours Of ABA Therapy Is Needed?

For some children, treatment for autism spectrum disorders is a full-time endeavor with as many as 40 hours per week of ABA therapy. For others, all it takes is a consistent, significant investment of time and effort.

Many children benefit from intensive, long-term applied behavioral analysis therapy. That could mean anywhere from 25 to 40 hours a week, for a period of 1 to 3 years. In other words, somewhere between 500 and 6,000 hours could be enough to improve social skills, reduce problem behavior, and promote academic achievement for your child’s entire lifetime.

Please understand this is simply an average. One of the reasons ABA therapy is so widely recommended and so consistently effective in the treatment of ASDs is that each plan is unique to each patient. For a more accurate estimate, please feel free to contact us for an initial consultation.

The Case for 40 Hours per Week

The current scientific evidence shows intensive, long-term schedules benefit many children with autism. Part of the reason for this is the cornerstone of ABA therapy: reinforcement.

Reinforcement in ABA therapy is the clinical practice of associating specific behaviors with desirable outcomes. For example, you might give your child a treat for performing a specific task.

Reinforcement must be consistent and frequent in order to establish a pattern of positive behavior. The long sessions and treatment timelines of a typical ABA treatment plan make this possible.

Therapy for 40 hours a week does not necessarily mean your child is at the treatment center on a full-time schedule. Many families use a combination of formats. For example, your child might go to the center some days and have home visits other days — you might even spend some of the ABA therapy time in parent-led treatment.

A Built-in Option for Change

Your ABA treatment plan receives regular review and adjustment from highly educated and experienced professionals. This allows you to get the treatment your child needs without excessive time in therapy or missed opportunities early on.

If a full-time schedule is no longer indicated due to better-than-average progress, the behavioral therapist in charge of your case will let you know immediately. On the other hand, if your child continues to need treatment to meet certain goals, you would never receive a recommendation to prematurely end the program.

After assessing your child’s needs, your planner will probably suggest as intensive of a schedule as is reasonable while making allowances for the possibility of rapid improvement. Simply put, it is better to scale back treatment after great success than it is to try and make up for lost time.

A Personalized Assessment

As mentioned above, every step of the ABA therapy process is based on your child’s needs and your family’s goals. Please contact us at your earliest convenience for a no-obligation initial consultation.