Need an Autism Diagnosis?
We're Here to Help! Call Us Today 855-295-3276
Need an Autism Diagnosis?
We're Here to Help! Call Us Today 855-295-3276


Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is widely recognized as the most effective treatment for individuals with autism.

You should know that ABA treatment is:

  • A discipline devoted to the understanding and improvement of human behavior, focusing on objectively defined, observable behaviors of social significance.
  • Used to change behaviors by evaluating the functional relationship between a behavior and the environment.
  • Structured to incorporate the teaching of appropriate and functional replacement behaviors.
  • Designed to treat a number of different disabilities in addition to Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Also used in other areas of life such as music, sports, anxiety reduction, weight loss and more.

Here’s another way to think about it:

Applied — We focus on making socially significant changes in behavior, meaning we care more about teaching language skills  than changing an IQ score.
Behavior — Behavior means all things that are observable and measurable.This applies to everything we do: from  how to greet someone, to when we see someone, to asking a question.
Analysis — We believe that our behavior is influenced by variables in the environment, and that a specific behavior will increase or decrease  depending on how we manipulate those variables.

Comprehensive/Early Intervention ABA Services

Comprehensive ABA looks at producing changes across global areas of functioning including cognitive, adaptive, social, and emotional domains. Programming is typically 25-40 hours/week of direct treatment with parent education. Comprehensive ABA intervention ranges from highly structured lessons to a more naturalistic programming that can look like play, chore completion or simple conversation. Comprehensive ABA is recommended for children who have just recently received the diagnosis and children generally between the ages of 0-7 years of age.

Focused ABA Therapy

Focused ABA services are appropriate for individuals who (a) need treatment only for a limited number of key functional skills, or (b) have such an acute problem behavior that its treatment should be the priority. Focused ABA usually ranges between 10-25 hours/week of direct treatment.

Examples of key functional skills include: establishing instruction-following, social communication skills, compliance with medical and dental procedures, sleep hygiene, self-care skills, safety skills, and independent leisure skills (for example, appropriate participation in family and community activities).

Examples of acute problem behaviors requiring focused intervention include: self-injury, aggression, threats, pica, elopement, feeding disorders, stereotypic motor or vocal behavior, property destruction, noncompliance and disruptive behavior, or dysfunctional social behavior.

Social Skills Programs

One of the most prevalent challenges for individuals with autism spectrum disorder is in the area of social skills. This includes difficulty with observational skills, eye contact, play interactions, social pragmatics, taking another’s perspective, making inferences, and sharing enjoyment and building relationships.

The assessment and intervention “matching” process is different from a one-size-fits all approach that involves generic behavioral interventions for unique and individual behavioral excesses and deficits. We believe that achievement in the domain of social interaction greatly improves the quality of life for a learner and we place a premium on screening, assessment, and individually tailored interventions.

Parent Participation Training

One of the most meaningful conversations you will have with your clinical team is the importance of parent participation. It has been proven that parents who are actively involved in their child’s therapy often see more progress in their children.

At home, it’s important to reinforce skills your child is learning in therapy by incorporating them into his or her daily routines. As with any skill, practice is key. Your child is with his or her therapist for only a small part of each day, so if lessons aren’t practiced at home, or if the child’s home experience is greatly different from what happens in therapy, it will take much longer to learn and reach goals.

For suggestions on how to incorporate learning skills at home, ask your team’s behavior analyst.

Also, try these 5 simple home-based activities that you can start doing right now:

  1. When your child asks for something, have them make eye contact with you before giving it to them.
  2. Practice simple exercises with your child like clapping, jumping and touching their nose or toes.
  3. Look through picture books and ask your child to find and point to specific pictures.
  4. Reinforce a specific communication skill (vocal, signs, etc.) by keeping a favorite item nearby but out of reach so the child must ask for it. Or keep the item in a clear plastic bin that’s not easy to open so the child must request “help” or “open.”
  5. Sing songs that have motions and have the child imitate your movements. Start with the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or make up your own motions to any song you think your child would like.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy (OT) is currently offered in Orange County, San Diego and in Northern California through Autism Learning Partners San Diego and our family of companies, A is For Apple and Children’s Learning Connection.

Occupational Therapy focuses on improvements in an individual’s daily occupations.  For example, your child’s self-help skills, play, making friends, and succeeding in school. Common skills addressed by OT include:

  • Daily living skills – toilet training or brushing their teeth
  • Sensory Integration – reacting to sounds, reading and writing
  • Gross & fine motor control – picking up objects, touch, balance, walking
  • Visual motor skills – seeing an object and walking towards it
  • Sensory motor skills – problem solving, awareness of his/her body
  • Social-emotional skills – play, communication

What does this mean?  It means that occupational therapy (OT) helps children build or improve their own social, play, learning, and sensory integration skills.

They learn to play.  To get along with others.  To understand more of the world around them, and interact with it.

How the Occupational Therapy Process Works

For an individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), occupational therapy services are defined according to the individual’s needs and desired goals. OT services for individuals with ASD or other developmental delays include evaluation, intervention, and measurement of outcomes.

Autism Learning Partners’ Occupational Therapists focus on enhancing a child’s participation in (and how they perform):

  • Regular daily activities of daily living (e.g., feeding, dressing)
  • “Instrumental” activities of daily living (e.g., eating, sleeping, dressing, safety procedures etc.)
  • Sensory integration – How well they respond to sounds/voices, prompts, etc.
  • Education – Improving their learning skills
  • Play and social participation.

Their evaluations are recorded and used to revise the child’s development plan (“IFSP”) over time. You have access to the plan’s reports at all times.

If a child needs more help in one of these areas, additional therapy called “interventions” are used to encourage your child to spend more time working through these skills.

Contact Autism Learning Partners for Your Child’s Occupational Therapy in Orange County, San Diego or Northern California

Our occupational therapists all hold California licenses in OT.  We are also affiliated with the Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC) to stay up-to-date on OT practices.

Our therapists collaborate and work as part of comprehensive, clinical team of providers in conducting developmental and educational assessments.  Each child has an Occupational Therapist as part of their IFSP team.

Does your child need Occupational Therapy to help them thrive? Contact Us  to get started.

Speech Therapy Services

Speech therapy is currently offered in Orange County, California and in Northern California through our family of companies, A is For Apple and Children’s Learning Connection. Speech Therapy will be offered in San Diego at the end of 2019 through the Autism Learning Partners San Diego region.

Speech therapy assessments, consultations, and sessions are provided for a variety of concerns in the following areas:

Speech disorders:
  • Articulation
  • Phonological Disorders
  • Apraxia of Speech
  • Fluency Disorders
  • Voice dysfunction
Language disorders:
  • Delayed language development
  • Specific Language Impairment
  • Auditory and Language Processing Disorders
  • Social-Communication and Cognitive-Communication Disorders

What is a speech language pathologist?

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, and communication disorders. SLPs have a master’s degree in speech language pathology, are licensed by the state of California, and hold national certification from the America Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA).

Some SLPs work as a team with a speech language pathology assistant (SLPA). An SLPA holds an educational degree in the field of speech language pathology and is licensed by the state of California to provide speech-language therapy under the supervision of an SLP.

How do I know if my child needs help?

Children develop at their own pace, and individual differences or special circumstances need to be accounted for. This can only be done by consulting with a speech language pathologist.

If you have concerns, you should have your child evaluated. Please contact us to start the process. Your pediatrician may also be able to provide you with referrals.


At what point should I be concerned about my child’s development?

Both social and academic success depends on well-developed speech and language skills. Your child may be having difficulty developing these skills if:

  1. Your child has experienced ear infections or an unusually long stay (six months or more) in the hospital.
  2. Your child is not understood by playmates or others outside the immediate family.
  3. Your child is frustrated when trying to communicate and the situation does not improve over a one- or two-month period.
  4. Your child has a delay of six months or more in developing speech and language skills.


If you have concerns, you should have your child evaluated. Please contact Autism Learning Partners to set up a speech therapy evaluation. Your pediatrician may also be able to provide you with referrals.


Contact us to get started!

Got questions? We’re here to help. You can speak to one of our care managers at 888-805-0759, send an email to
At Autism Learning Partners, we hope that through exceptional clinical care, understanding and partnership, your child will make amazing progress.

Additional Resources

Autism Learning Partners Social Skills Contact

Social Skills

At ALP, our social skills group is designed to support each child individually by providing more focused goal planning and the ability to reach key milestones  …all while having fun and making friends. For more information or to sign up, contact us today.



Across the Country

We have offices all over the United States to help you with the services  you need.

Search for Locations


Send a Message

Start right now and call an ALP care manager at (888) 805-0759 to get the services you need. You can also reach us by clicking the button below.