Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)


We provide a form of applied behavior analysis (ABA) known as a naturalistic developmental behavior intervention (NDBI). NDBI combines the principles of ABA and child development to facilitate growth in communication, social skills, play, academics, and daily living skills. NDBI places a strong emphasis on family involvement and takes place in the natural setting. There are many research studies demonstrating the effectiveness of NDBI with children with ASD.

Behavior Therapy for Adolescents/Adults

We provide behavior therapy for older youth, adolescents, and adults to support adaptive, leisure, social, independence, and executive functioning skills (e.g., time management, organization, task completion). Common areas we may target include homework completion, applying for a job, ongoing job coaching, budgeting, meal preparation, hygiene, using public transportation, among others. These skills give individuals more control over their lives and their futures, and reduce family stress.

Pivotal Response Training (PRT)

Pivotal Response Training (PRT), a naturalistic intervention based on the principles of applied behavior analysis, is one of the best- researched therapies for children with ASD. PRT identifies certain behaviors for treatment that will produce simultaneous changes in many other behaviors. Pivotal behaviors are considered central to wide areas of functioning and positive changes in pivotal behaviors should have widespread effects on many other behaviors. The program works by using a child’s motivation for objects or activities to increase important skills, typically language acquisition, social interaction, and play skills. PRT provides parents, teachers, and caregivers with a very naturalistic way of interacting with the child in many different settings. Important aspects of training include turn-taking, reinforcing attempts at correct responding, frequent task variation, allowing the child a choice of activities, interspersing maintenance tasks, and using natural consequences. This intervention is flexible and allows the caregiver to require more difficult responses as the child progresses. Dr. Sutton has collaborated with professionals at UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara in a federally funded research project investigating PRT. She has provided PRT trainings nationally and internationally, and has published intervention research on PRT. We will implement PRT with your child, as well as teach you how to use PRT strategies at home.

Parent Training

Parent training is individualized based on the needs of the child and family. Parent training may incorporate a blend of developmental and naturalistic behavioral techniques to teach social, communication, imitation, and play skills. Parent training may also include positive behavioral support strategies/ABA to address behaviors such as toilet training, feeding, sleep, and challenging behaviors such as aggression or running away. We typically begin with a parent interview and watch the parent and child playing together. We then work with parents to set goals for intervention. Sessions typically include time when we model intervention strategies, as well as opportunities for parents to practice the strategies and receive feedback.