About ABA Therapy

Can ABA Therapy Help With Severe Behavior?

Whitney Heath June 14, 2024

Hope for Caregivers: ABA Therapy for Severe Behavior  

A therapist comforts a crying childParents and caregivers of individuals with autism who exhibit severe behaviors often face challenges when seeking the right therapy program. Behaviors such as aggression, self-injury, elopement, and property destruction can be dangerous and present risk of injury to both individuals themselves and others. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy can address and improve severe behavior, offering hope and support to caregivers in need of guidance. 


Understanding ABA Therapy and Its Application in Severe Behavior 

ABA therapy is a powerful resource for families struggling to manage severe behavior in individuals with autism. Its evidence-based methodology starts by addressing the “why” and “how” of challenging behaviors. By analyzing the reasons for and outcomes of these behaviors, ABA therapists can tailor strategies that are not just reactive, but proactive and educational in nature.  

For some individuals, severe behavior can be a means of communication. Through ABA therapy, this individual can learn alternative, adaptive communication methods, helping them to stop relying on aggressive behaviors. ABA therapy can introduce coping mechanisms to help these individuals tolerate difficult situations safely. This approach not only mitigates severe behaviors but also empowers individuals with autism to navigate their world more comfortably. 

The Role of BCBAs in Assessing and Addressing Severe Behaviors 

A child screams with their eyes closedBoard Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) are uniquely trained to help their clients work through the complexities of severe behaviors. They employ compassionate and analytical approaches, tailoring treatment strategies to each individual’s specific needs. Functional behavior assessments help BCBAs pinpoint the underlying causes of challenging behaviors, whether they come from communication struggles or other environmental factors. This in-depth understanding allows BCBAs to help clients reduce dangerous behaviors and enhance their ability to communicate, cope, and engage with their environment more effectively.  

For an individual who exhibits aggressive behaviors due to difficulty with verbal communication, a BCBA might introduce a picture exchange communication system. Providing an alternative way to express needs can dramatically reduce the individual’s aggression. 

For an individual who may be prone to elopement, a BCBA could devise safety protocols while teaching the individual coping strategies to tolerate situations that have historically led to elopement. 

These case examples highlight how BCBAs, through personalized intervention and unwavering support, offer hope and practical solutions to families facing the challenges of severe behaviors, leading to meaningful improvements in the lives of individuals with autism. 

BlueSprig’s Approach to Severe Behavior Programs 

At BlueSprig, our specialty in addressing severe behaviors through ABA therapy is a core part of our mission to change the world for individuals with autism. Our severe behavior programs are crafted with a deep understanding that each individual’s behavior is a form of communication. 

By embracing this perspective, we employ a range of evidence-based strategies designed to meet the unique needs of every individual we serve. A key component of our approach involves creating a safe and supportive environment where individuals can learn and grow. 

Through individualized intervention plans, our skilled BCBAs and technicians work closely with families to implement strategies that reduce harmful behaviors while promoting adaptive skills and independence. Our commitment lies in not only managing severe behaviors, but also in fostering an atmosphere where individuals with autism can thrive. 

BlueSprig offers severe behavior programs at centers across the country, including the BlueSprig Behavior Centers. Read more about our severe behavior programs here.

How to Get Started with ABA Therapy for Your Loved One  

A therapist talks to a child while coloringStarting on the journey of ABA therapy for your loved one can seem overwhelming, but it begins with a simple step forward. Contact a trusted ABA provider, such as BlueSprig, to schedule a comprehensive assessment. This initial meeting is crucial, as it allows professionals to understand your loved one’s unique behaviors and needs. From there, our providers will create a personalized treatment plan. Our BCBAs focus on strategies that address specific challenges while nurturing strengths. Remember, the aim is not only to manage severe behaviors but to enhance your loved one’s ability to meet personalized goals. With the right support and commitment, significant strides in behavior and quality of life are within reach.